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“A dream job” : Medical spa celebrates 18 years in Dawson County
Serenity medical spa
Serenity Medical Health and Beauty Spa owner Sharon Keating demonstrates a CoolPeel skin treatment on customer Lainey Ambery during the spa’s Sept. 29 anniversary event. - photo by Julia Hansen

As people gathered in groups laughing and telling stories with cocktails and finger foods in hand, the lobby of Serenity Medical Health and Beauty Spa felt more like a family living room than the entry to a business this past Thursday. 

The spa, located at 1080 Lumpkin Campground Road South, Suite 200, recently marked its 18 year anniversary in June. Staff, customers and product representatives gathered at the spa Sept. 29 for an afternoon of lively conversation, games and skin treatment demonstrations.

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“It was like a dream come true…[it’s] a dream job,” co-owner Sharon Keating said of opening the business. 

She and her husband, William Keating, moved to the Dawson County area from Pennsylvania in 2002, and they started the spa two years later. 

Sharon brought with her 30 years of experience in different aspects of the health and wellness fields, including her time as a medical/surgical nurse and a researcher in testing new drugs in clinical trials. 

William brought his experience as a doctor who’s board certified in the areas of family practice and addiction medicine. He founded a medical practice that’s next door to where his wife’s spa now is. 

The spa originally debuted off of Hightower Parkway, near Ga. 53, but they moved to the current location in 2010. 

“I’ve always had a passion for the beauty industry and being a nurse, I also had a passion for medical things,” Sharon said. “At the time I opened the spa, that was a fairly new concept of pairing medical with beauty treatments.” 

The medical spa’s offerings include eyelash extensions, eyebrow microblading, facials, body sculpting, Botox cosmetic and hair regrowth treatments, as well as a range of other skincare options. 

During the spa’s anniversary event, Sharon demonstrated the CoolPeel treatment that her business offers. This non-surgical laser technology is used to treat sun damage, lines and wrinkles or other skin blemishes in order to revitalize skin appearance. 

In order to adapt her business, Sharon said she keeps abreast of all the new beauty and wellness treatments, devices and injectables coming out onto the market.

It’s meant a lot to her to be on this business journey as a member of the Dawson community. 

“We weathered the last economic downturn…actually, we were barely open for a few years. I just had a few appointments here and there,” Sharon said.

It took almost three years for her facility to be built, but the wait was well worth it. 

“Then in 2010, when we moved here, it started turning around and booming again,” she added. 

In addition to customers, the growing sense of community created by the medical spa has also drawn in newer employees, too. 

Esthetician Desarae Valadez started working at the business about three years ago. Her parents lived near Dawson County when she was attending esthetician school in Roswell. 

“Back when I was in esthetician school, I didn't feel confident that I was really educated and prepared for the medical side of it,” Valadez said.

Her solution was to go to the medical spa she knew about in town–Sharon’s business. 

“I decided that I was going to be bold and ask her, ‘What would make you wanna hire me?’”, Valadez said.

So Sharon showed her by offering some cursory training and then sending her on her way. 

“A couple years later after I graduated, I sent my mom in here to grab some makeup,” said Valadez, “and Sharon asked my mom, ‘Where’d you get your eyebrows done?’ And she told her. Then she (Sharon) goes, ‘I need your daughter to work here.’”

About “nine times out of 10,” Valadez shared that Sharon and a group of ladies can be caught in one of the back rooms having “way too much fun” during treatment sessions.

“It’s the most laid back and comfortable place I’ve worked,” Valadez said. “The med spa industry can be really uptight, and that’s the great thing about Sharon in general is that she’s down to earth, approachable, and she treats her clients and staff like family.” 

Sharon added later that her business is, at its core, a “people business.”

“We’ve become friends, and we’re on a journey together, not just in beauty, but in life,” she said, “so it’s been a real pleasure and a real honor to be a part of their lives. That’s really what this celebration is all about.”