PHOTOS BY BOBBY STEVENS/THE CHRONICLE – Chef and restaurant owner Scott Pisani with wife Chelsea Pisani, who owns and operates the Creswell Wellness Center, are overseeing expansion projects.
CRESWELL — It’s often said that marriage is like a merger, and that has never been truer for Chelsea and Scott Pisani of Creswell.
Chelsea owns the Creswell Wellness Center on Oregon Avenue and just feet away sits Pazzo, the town’s farm-to-table restaurant owned by her husband, Scott. While their independently-owned businesses used to be separated by the former office of this newspaper, a happy accident of timing and cost savings has allowed the Pisanis the opportunity to close that distance and expand each business.
And what makes this story so compelling is that a wellness entrepreneur and a restaurateur did the vast majority of the work themselves.
“We are both so lucky to have really talented people in our corner,” said Chelsea. “We have many friends and relations who helped in the design and securing of the resources we needed to expand.”
The Creswell Wellness Center recently celebrated its third anniversary in downtown Creswell, and Pazzo its second.
But to start at the very beginning, a few years ago, Chelsea was a massage therapist, when suddenly some opportunities presented themselves.
“Dr. Tamara Blum owned Creswell Chiropractic with her husband (and owner of the building) Al Bennett. When she passed away, I purchased the assets while simultaneously purchasing The Natural Path (the vitamin portion), located across the street from Tom Foust,” she said. When she moved into the space, it was just a venue to sell vitamins and provide massage. Soon after she added the acupuncture services of Dr. Blair and Marco Caturegli.
“I had a vision to combine both businesses and add more naturopathic elements,” she said. “There already was Lumos Chiropractor in the same building, and so I kept that business and added acupuncture.”
She opened in February 2019 and quickly grew her business through 2020 and beyond – despite Covid.
“We actually have done pretty well during the pandemic,” said Chelsea. “Perhaps a positive impact from these past couple of years is that people seem to be much more intentional about their physical and mental health.”
Meanwhile, just to the west, Scott was launching his restaurant that would bring, as he says, “a non-pretentious gourmet eating experience to town.”
Scott launched his enterprise just a few months before Covid hit Oregon and, like so many of his contemporaries in the restaurant industry, he had to greatly alter his business plan. “We did have to reduce the menu and transition to take-out,” he said. “It’s been tough. Take-out works, of course, but our vision for the restaurant has always been about a space for people to gather in-person and enjoy great food.”
Complicating matters has been the fact that the original space offered a very small kitchen with limited room for refrigeration.
BOBBY STEVENS / THE CHRONICLE – Chelsea and Scott Pisani have room to grow his kitchen operation at Pazzo and provide more health-care options and specialists at the Wellness Center.
“We joke, but it’s true: we have a one-butt kitchen,” laughed Scott. “I actually had to store my perishables at a separate location and ‘frogger’ across Oregon Avenue when I needed something from the freezer.” So, when in-person dining opened up in 2021, Pazzo needed more room to accommodate the return of patrons.
Around the same time, Noel Nash, The Chronicle’s publisher, was looking at ways to make the newspaper more efficient in response to the ongoing evolution of journalism.
“Our mission of hyper-local journalism means that we need to serve all three of our communities – Creswell, Cottage Grove and Springfield – equally and effectively,” he said. “We saw that we could do that by relying on people who live and know these communities to write and file their stories using technology. This allowed us to consolidate two offices into one and move our operations to Springfield while still serving all our readers.”
So, when The Chronicle moved out of its Creswell location, the Pisanis saw an opportunity to expand.
“Don’t get me wrong, it was a bittersweet moment,” said Chelsea. “We loved Noel and Dee Dee as neighbors, and we all had a lot of fun together. But opportunity only knocks once, as they say, and so we decided to take the plunge.”
Chelsea and Scott started putting pencil to paper and came up with a design to divide the new space in half, with Creswell Wellness Center taking the front and the expanded kitchen for Pazzo occupying the back. After a good deal of time brainstorming ideas and producing detailed plans, they concluded, as Chelsea said, “Holy buckets, we can do this!”
So, in January, the Pisanis and their friends and family started swinging hammers and tearing out walls. They first tackled the kitchen because that was the easiest part and then began expanding the space for Chelsea’s operation.
After months of sweat equity they are nearing completion, and the last big step is the electricity for the Wellness Center.
All told, the hope is to be completely finished by next month.
With the added square footage, Chelsea has built a new treatment room and expanded the retail footprint. Because they serve chiropractic patients coming every 15 minutes, the additional rooms provide a space that is closed off and quiet for other more tranquil treatments.
This in turn will allow the center to begin to offer mental health counseling down the road.
For Scott, the bumped-out kitchen has expanded the freezer and refrigeration space without relying on a second storage location. “I can now attend to more customers as well as serve lunch to patrons,” he said.
“Both of us are so driven to succeed and to make our dreams reality,” said Scott. “We are a great team because we can also give each other reality checks when needed. And now that the space is larger and can accommodate more of what we need, we can really begin to see the culmination of our hard work and planning.”
If marriage is a merger, it’s also the most profound expression of teamwork. That is certainly true for the Pisanis.
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