About Our Owner: Born in a small village in Michoacan, Mexico, Marisela Higgins immigrated to the United States with her family when she was a teenager. As with many immigrants, it was a challenge to go through her high school and college years while learning a new language.
Marisela entered the banking business in Newport Beach, California, and worked her way up through the ranks to become an officer of one of the largest banks in the state. She met her future husband, Bob Higgins, on a flight from Acapulco to Los Angeles in 1985. Bob was an officer of Denny’s, Inc., in charge of foreign operations.
In 1988 the couple moved to Japan, where Marisela became intrigued by the Japanese love of bathing and their penchant for cleanliness. There are over 2000 public bathhouses in Tokyo and more than 3000 hot springs resorts in the country. Every seaside resort hotel has a spa, each with its own distinctive pattern of cotton robe, called yukata in Japanese. Groups of Japanese guests stroll down the streets in their yukatas, making it easy to identify where they are staying. It was a lifestyle that appealed to Marisela.
In 1991 Bob retired and they returned to North America with their three-month old daughter, Alexa, to live in a hillside house overlooking Acapulco Bay. Life was laid back compared to the high energy hustle of Tokyo. But that lifestyle was not destined to last long.
Within a year Bob got a call from a friend, asking if Bob would like to invest in a restaurant being constructed in Laredo. He accepted and, after the restaurant opened, the family packed up and moved to Laredo with the intention of supervising the business for a year. That was in 1992.
The years passed and by 1997 Marisela had become restless and anxious to do something more constructive than playing golf at the country club. She remembered her experience in Japan and how the Japanese loved water treatments for health and well-being. She wondered if Laredo would embrace the idea of hydrotherapy, therapeutic massage and body treatments as a means of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Marisela spent a year attending seminars on spa management, visiting spas throughout the country and taking courses in cosmetology, aesthetics and massage therapy. Bob researched spa design, equipment and government regulations. By good fortune Marisela was introduced to Erica Miller, a world renowned spa consultant, headquartered in Dallas. Marisela and Erica became good friends and Erica contributed greatly in the creation of Studio 55.
The spa opened December 16, 1998 with 2000 ft.² of space and, within three years, expanded to 4500 ft.², categorized by the International Spa Association as a large day spa. As of now, seventeen years since opening, Studio 55 has provided 276,625 spa services to over 51,000 clients.
The mission of Studio 55 is “to create a consistently new level of excellence in the quality of our services and to provide our guests a thoroughly satisfying experience.”
To which Marisela says, “We may not be perfect but we strive to be nearly perfect.”