European Touch Day Spa builds a much larger new home in Medford's east hills.

At a time when big business and small firms are cutting jobs, Michelle Sherbourne is adding to her staff.

The owner of the European Touch Day Spa and Salon in Medford will relocate to the east Medford hills overlooking the valley.

Sherbourne set up shop in a part of west Medford more apt to be connected with fruit than facials more that seven years ago. She had three employees and services that drew clients from Ashland to Eagle Point. In the early days, European Touch handled 10 to 15 clients coming for massages, facials or hair appointments a day. Now, about 35 are served and the customer list has swelled to 4,000.

By 2006, Sherbourne had configured and reconfigured her 5,000-square-foot building on the corner of Grape and 11th streets often enough to know it was time to seek new frontiers.

"When we bought this (present) building it was quite spacious," Sherbourne says. "But we just kept growing bigger and bigger to the point where we needed to move. We just kept creating walls until I thought, 'This is getting ridiculous.'

"We're doing fantastic in this economy. Part of it is the more stressed people are, the more they're needing massages."

Her clientele has weathered the general economic malaise so far, she says.

"A lot of the people in our particular area are pretty established or retired and the economy is not affecting them," Sherbourne says.

Sherbourne learned her craft in the United Kingdom, studying anatomy, facial work, electrolysis and other disciplines while earning an international license at Carlett Park College in Liverpool in 1985.

She moved to the Rogue Valley in the early 1990s, did solo work and joined the Atrium staff in Ashland from 1995 to 1998 before striking out on her own.

After searching for several months for a more spacious site, Sherbourne bought a Vista Pointe lot five times the size of her current location.

"We wanted to build the new one from scratch with hair dressing and nails on one side, a beautiful relaxing room with a look-through fireplace and views of a vineyard on the other where we will do massages and facials with body rooms, sauna and steam room."

The project will cost about $1 million. The .54-acre lot cost $300,000, according to county records. The city building permit indicates the 8,945-square-foot structure with 12 treatment rooms will cost nearly $700,000. Sherbourne plans to occupy 5,500 square feet, lease out 2,100 square feet and use the rest for storage.

"We're pretty hidden away right now and we're moving to the top of McAndrews where we'll be more visible," Sherbourne says. "We've grown pretty much by word of mouth."

The spa is the second commercial building of more than 20 anticipated to eventually go up in Vista Pointe.

"We're planning for wedding parties and groups of people to come in, do their make-up, hair dressing and nails," she says.

The nature of the hands-on business requires attention to detail.

"You have to be careful and drape well," she says. "You've got to have a good name where people feel welcome."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.