- Rick Aidekman and Ellen Sackoff Create Cornelia Day Resort and Spa
Rick Aidekman-Ellen Sackoff, create Cornelia Day Resort/Spa. In 2004 Rick Aidekman and Ellen Sackoff embarked on the creation of what became the Cornelia Day Resort/Spa and Cornelia skin and body care products.
In 2003, Rick Aidekman sold his portfolio of apartment buildings in New York City that he grew from one 25 unit property with his partner to over 8,000 apartments in 167 buildings in partnership with Prudential and Trust Company of the West and several high net worth individuals. Looking for another business opportunity, Rick Aidekman and Ellen Sackoff connected with a well known aesthetician in NYC, who was looking for backing to open a small facial parlor. In the Summer of 2004, we opened a one room facial business, with two aestheticians, in a hotel on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side. We both enjoyed the reaction we received in the neighborhood and truly enjoyed the business, as small as it was.
After a few months, we decided to expand the business. This led us to a search for a location, where we thought we would create a five or six room mini-spa with facials and massages. As we searched for a location, we learned that there were not many luxury spas in the City that were not in a hotel. We saw the opportunity to create something unique and special as it appeared that the competition at the luxury level was limited. As we searched for locations, it appeared ever available space had its drawbacks. Not enough windows, too noisy a street, low ceilings, no outdoor space. The more we looked for space, the more we expanded the concept, as we saw the opportunity more clearly. We figured that if there was to be massages and facials, we of course needed body treatments and baths. This of course would require changing rooms with steam rooms and plenty of space for people to get showered, changed and made up for their next meeting, event, or to just go out on the streets of New York. Of course, we figured that women would like to get their hair blown out, which required a small hair salon and with that, makeup and nails made sense. At this point we realized that people would get hungry, so a café was in order. Lastly, while we had guests within our space, a retail boutique would be fun and profitable. When Ellen suggested that the boutique should sell fashion and home as well as traditional spa products, Rick felt that this concept may be a little bit of a stretch, especially as we had narrowed our search for space to the Fifth Avenue area in the middle of the finest stores in the world. When out to dinner with another couple, I asked my friend’s wife, if she would buy fashion or home items in a spa boutique. She gave me the definitive answer. She said if she was in the produce aisle of a supermarket and saw a display of handbags, she would abandon her cart and move quickly to the handbags. Thus, it was decided, fashion and home would be a part of our project. By this time, we had settled on space in the “Ferragamo” building on Fifth Avenue.
While negotiating a lease for the 15,000 square foot 8th (and top) floor, I asked to see the roof where we would be likely to place our HVAC equipment. To my surprise and delight, there was a 15,000 square foot roof that was only half occupied with Ferragamo’s equipment. I asked if they would rent us the roof for an outdoor garden and café, the final and significant piece of our spa, now called a “Day Resort.”