“I should be retiring, but here I go again.”
These words of Deanna Whited, today’s People of Blount County, rings true within her soul. At the age of 57, Deanna thought she would soon be retiring after a 32-year combined career at the Blount County Children’s Center, Childhaven, Blount County DHR, and the county alternative school in Allgood for the past 21 years.
After all, Deanna has been married 37 years, raised three children, and thoroughly enjoys being the grandmother of seven grandchildren. She has marked off several items on her bucket list including jumping out of a plane, zip lining across waterfalls in Hawaii, and being able to kiss the most handsome man (her only grandson) in the world, so why wouldn’t she be thinking of retiring soon?
The answer — Deanna has always had a passion for building people up. In fact, at her high school reunion a couple of years ago, a classmate made the comment to her, “You still have a beautiful heart and have always tried to help people.” That comment would eventually play a huge part in Deanna’s upcoming adventure.
In addition to her love of building people (especially women) up, Deanna has always been fascinated with fashion, beauty, and skin care. Stepping out into the world in an array of “not so normal” fashion is something that Deanna loves. She enjoys new and different fashion styles and isn’t afraid to try them. She is Deanna, the fashion diva.
Throughout the years, Deanna has also worked very hard on a skin care regimen. With the help of her skin care technician, it has been a great experience for her. As she tossed thoughts of pursuing a dream, her previous skin care experience, and having someone to guide her, only validated the need for women to have an opportunity to learn about skin care. She currently is completing her aestrictrition (skin care) apprenticeship for certification.
When combining all of the wonderful attributes mentioned above, Deanna is where she is today — the owner of Beautiful Heart Day Spa. Just hours before the world came to a screeching halt last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Deanna signed papers on the building where they are now located. Yes, there were feelings of insecurity about launching a new business in the middle of a pandemic, but everyone carried on. After a complete transformation of the building, Beautiful Heart Day Spa came into existence in June 2020.
As a wife, mother, grandmother, wage earner, and beyond, Deanna understands that adult women have so many roles to fill. It can be overwhelming at times, and more often than not, women’s “me time” is non-existent.
The mission of the spa is simple, but so special. Their goal is to help women mentally, spiritually, and physically. Whether you are homeless or a millionaire, everyone is treated the same. She wants everyone to feel special regardless of where they are in life. It is important to Deanna that EVERY woman is invited to sit at their table.
As the search for vendors began, God’s hand took the reins and organized a group of women that have become family. Soon massages, skin care, hair services, and yoni steaming were a part of the spa. Although each vendor has a different talent, together they make Beautiful Heart Day Spa what Deanna intended it to be — women helping women and building them up.
In addition to building up women in the community, the co-workers also strive to empower each other. They share Bible verses and inspirational messages among themselves and check on each other regularly through text messages.
If a negative situation arises, the ladies try to find the positive instead of solely concentrating on the negative. That is true not only among themselves, but among their clients. And to Deanna, that is what she imagined even before the vision actually became a reality.
Each vendor is not only employed by the spa, each one supports a cause they believe in. Whether it is abused women, the elderly, or people with diseases such as cancer or MLS, they want to offer an experience that empowers the women in their community. They realize that not everyone can spare the expense of spa treatment, and there have been times when the vendors have donated services and products to a person who just needs to feel loved and pampered.
Deanna noted that once a lady feels comfortable while at the spa, they sometimes open up about the negatives in their life. Whether it is abuse, a debilitating illness, or the consequences of age, it gives them a time to not feel threatened or judged and have full focus on them. And that blesses Deanna’s heart.
Deanna is fortunate to not only work with women who she considers family; she is also blessed to have both of her daughters walking along side of her in the business. Deanna credits them as the behind-the-scenes women who keep everything running smoothly. Deanna says she does not have a businesslike mind and further notes, “I am just the face.”
So for Deanna, she won’t be retiring anytime soon. The reality of a passion and ministry will keep her busy over the next few years. She will also work on completing the rest of her bucket list items: walk where Jesus walked, more traveling, take in more Atlanta Braves baseball, and attend more concerts are just a few.
Life doesn’t always send everyone down the same path. Veering off and venturing into uncharted territory, including opening a new business later in life, can be fun and exciting. And for that, Deanna is extremely thankful.