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Spa Del Rio celebrates opening with ribbon-cutting ceremony in Laguna Beach

Sisters Nicole, Michelle, Perla and Lesli Del Rio, from left,  stand in their new Spa Del Rio location.
Sisters Nicole, Michelle, Perla and Lesli Del Rio, from left, stand in their new Spa Del Rio location in the Lumberyard Mall in Laguna Beach during grand opening on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Back in February, a mother and her four daughters sat down for a birthday lunch and dared to dream.

Claudia Mendizabal, 54, and her four daughters, Lesli Del Rio Burt, 31, Perla, 30, Michelle, 21, and Nicole Del Rio, 19, had a feeling that this year could be the one that they realized their hope of running their own business.

A couple of them worked at a spa in Laguna Beach, and when the owner decided to sell, the family decided to buy it and take a chance in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

Spa Del Rio, which opened its doors on Sept. 12 at 384 Forest Ave., is the newest member of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and was welcomed to the community with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday night.

“When we were younger, we didn’t understand why there were so many of us girls in one house,” said Lesli, who purchased the business. “Now it makes sense. This was destined to happen.”

Claudia and Perla formerly worked in a spa called Skinterest, the mom as an esthetician and the daughter as a provider of integrative and wholistic services.

To now be working in a family-owned and operated business with her children,” Claudia said, “I feel blessed. I’m so happy for that.”

Perla said the spa’s proximity to the Promenade on Forest, which the City Council has hinted it would like to have stick around long-term, could be another draw.

“Fortunately, we do offer services for the mind, body and spirit, and I think people were very interested in that, especially during this time in COVID,” Perla said. “To give something to offer, something that they needed … we forge together to really create a beautiful spa and a beautiful community.”

More information about the family-owned spa can be found at spadelrio.com.

Many acknowledged the risk being taken to choose to open a business during the pandemic. The family, falling back on the advice of Mom, have chosen to believe in themselves.

“You have to be crazy in order to do something amazing,” Perla said of starting a business during COVID-19.

The Coast Film Festival, which tailors itself toward outdoor living and the environment, kicks off at The Ranch in Laguna Beach on Thursday. The festival is in its second year.

Lesli, Nicole, Claudia (mom) Perla, and Michelle Del Rio officially cut the ribbon on their new Spa Del Rio location.
Lesli, Nicole, Claudia (mom), Perla and Michelle Del Rio officially cut the ribbon on their new Spa Del Rio location in the Lumberyard Mall in Laguna Beach during grand opening on Thursday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Community members, including representatives from the Chamber of Commerce and Councilman Peter Blake came out to congratulate the new business owners.

“Looking at what you guys offer, it’s really unique and special,” JJ Ballesteros, chairman of the board for the Chamber of Commerce said. “It’s a mother-and-four-daughters business that are offering … enhancements and treatments, and they want to make you feel good, and we all know that right now, everybody can use that.”

Laura Oatman, the district director for Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach), presented the family with a certificate of recognition. Though Rouda recently conceded his race to Michelle Steel, Oatman was able to make light of the situation.

“The good news is I’m going to have some free time to come and visit these ladies over here, and I think I need a full day here at least,” Oatman said.

One of the new chairs in the Spa Del Rio location in the Lumberyard Mall in Laguna Beach.
One of the new chairs in the Spa Del Rio location in the Lumberyard Mall in Laguna Beach.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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