Editor’s note 03/03/23 at 2:08 p.m.: This article mistakingly reported that Bourgeois started At Last… during the pandemic. This has been corrected to note that she founded the business in 2010.
Lori Bourgeois, owner of At Last… Salon & Day Spa, dreamed of starting her own business since childhood. Now, after founding the business in 2010, Bourgeois’s spa offers treatments such as hair, massage, facials and waxing on Park Row.
Bourgeois was inspired to create a salon and spa when she was in her thirties, an idea ignited by having a pedicure before a vacation. She soon enrolled in nail tech school and later completed esthetician and massage therapy schools.
Throughout the process of opening At Last…, Bourgeois was grateful to have a supportive community and the assistance of investors. However, the process included a lot of unknowns.
“It was a leap of faith honestly,” Bourgeois said. “You know, there’s always a nervous [question] of like, ‘will I survive?’ Because if you look around in like a three-mile radius in Topsham [and] Brunswick, there’s probably 30 salons. So, it was a lot of leap of faith and just putting out a good product.”
For Bourgeois, the salon’s name represents her success in finally owning her own business. For her customers, however, At Last… illustrates the process of finding joy and relaxation on a personal path to both physical and mental wellness.
“We all care about our clients,” Bourgeois said of herself and her coworkers. “We all care what we’re trying to put out there.”
While she believes the beauty industry can sometimes carry a stereotype of drama or discord, Bourgeois emphasizes her coworkers’ kindness and commitment to their craft, creating a calm and collaborative environment where employees and customers can find comfort in connecting with one another. Bourgeois noted that these interactions with her customers are one of her favorite aspects of the job.
“They say in school you shouldn’t [form relationships with clients], but when you’ve worked with somebody for 20 years, how do you not?… It’s easier to talk to somebody who’s not part of your life because they’re not going to judge you,” Bourgeois said.
Bourgeois believes that community engagement is essential to running a small business. Throughout the years, At Last… has hosted silent auctions for multiple local nonprofits, organized a food drive for Midcoast Hunger Prevention, conducted blood drives and worked with Seeds of Independence and various veteran organizations as well. While she recognizes these endeavors are important in generating further business, Bourgeois believes it is also valuable to have a positive impact on individuals or causes and directly benefit the community as a result.
“I think when you have a business there’s a responsibility that you should do what you can to help others,” Bourgeois said. “You should be part of a community in some way and give back.”
Bourgeois felt challenged to connect fully with the community in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, recognizing the importance of adapting to health and wsafety regulations. Although the hardships of Covid-19 made her nervous, she references how originally opening the business in a recession allowed her to have hope in the face of the pandemic.
While the clients of At Last… often are older adults, Bourgeois strongly believes that attention to wellness and self-care is important for students amid the numerous stressors in college life. Bourgeois remains focused on what she hopes to accomplish through her business.
At Last… Salon & Day Spa offers a space committed to wellbeing and quality care in the Brunswick community. The business promotes the importance of one’s personal wellness journey by focusing on inclusive treatments with a caring and committed staff.
“[When] somebody comes in with a bad back or a bad neck or skin issues, we’re trying to get them to a path of better health,” Bourgeois said. “It’s the overall goal of just making somebody feel good,” she said.