ST. CLOUD, Minn. (WCCO) – A Minnesota massage parlor owner says she feels pinched by new rules designed to combat crime.
Over the summer, the city of St. Cloud agreed to tighten licensing requirements to stop sex trafficking.
“I knew there was a need for connecting the people of Central Minnesota to getting a safe massage,” Beth Huber said.
Thirteen years ago, Huber opened Quick Fix Massage. As interest in health and wellness grew, so did her business. Today, she has 18 therapists on staff and collaborates with chiropractors.
“I would say it’s a great partnership. People come in and get loosened up for an adjustment after,” said Dr. Ashley Lewandowski, who works at Quick Fix Massage.
“We are very, very systematic in our processes. They are fully reputable. It’s my job to make sure I’m vetting my therapists. We are doing technical with them. They can’t work here without an education,” Huber said.
Which is why Huber feels she’s being penalized for other businesses’ misdeeds. In June, a couple was arrested and charged at a Waite Park Massage business after a worker says they forced her to perform sex acts on customers. A month later, St. Cloud overhauled its massage ordinance. There will be more background checks for therapists, more inspections for businesses and ultimately more fees to pay.
In the past, only the business was required to get a license. Now, all of Huber’s therapists will need one. She said it will cost her about $3,000 a year.
“Why would a company that’s big because of reputation and hard work be penalized monetarily? How does that stop sex trafficking? The fees aren’t going to deter someone from opening up a business and having prostitution. It’s not the solution,” said Huber.
Huber believes the city’s intentions are good, but she said some of the changes could be bad for her business.
“The solution is being engaged, enforcing rules – really following up on those problems and questions. I think they are moving towards that, I don’t think fees answer that problem,” Huber said.
Huber said she would like to see the state get more involved with massage regulations. St. Cloud changed its ordinance after talking with a number of different cities across the state.