Carson Bowe relaxed in a black recliner Thursday afternoon, a needle in his forearm, an IV drip pumping vitamins into his vein.
Bowe wasn’t in the hospital or donating blood. Looking for a boost as he prepares for an upcoming work trip, Bowe was getting an immunity “cocktail” at Hydrate IV Bar in Old Town, an IV drip of simple saline infused with vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.
Hydrate IV, 222 Linden St., is the city’s latest IV spa, a wellness trend that continues to expand in Fort Collins.
“We are working with folks suffering from jet lag, altitude sickness, general health and wellness … and the hangover crowd as well as folks who are beating themselves up in the mountains” hiking and biking, franchise co-owner Brendan Charles said.
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Clients can get a 30- to 45-minute infusion of various vitamins like calcium, magnesium, antioxidant compound glutathione and vitamin C or an injection of vitamins and amino acids in a spa-like atmosphere.
“I wanted to get that little extra edge,” before traveling, Bowe said. “I would rather not get sick. If I can have a little edge every once in awhile … I’ll stick with that.”
Joe Bucker, owner of Beautifully Savage: A Boxing Studio in Fort Collins, was looking for ways to get a boost of energy before a class Thursday.
Nikki Schillaci, the clinical nurse manager, adjusts an IV in the arm of Carson Bowe as he receives an IV therapy treatment at Hydrate IV Bar in Old Town Fort Collins, Colo. on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (Photo: Bethany Baker / The Coloradoan )
“I’m always looking for little ways to improve and get 2% better,” he said. “Anything that helps me be a more optimal, high performing human.” At 45, recovering from an intense workout is harder than when he was 25, he said. “I’m always looking for ways to be a little bit better.”
Bucker got an infusion of B-complex, glutathione, magnesium and calcium that is designed to aid endurance, stamina and acceleration of muscle recovery.
The procedure was nearly pain free, said Kristen Rush, a nurse at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies, who was getting an infusion for more energy. “If you’ve ever given blood, you know what an IV poke kind of feels like, then you sit back and relax. You can’t even feel it,” she said.
It was her first time trying any type of IV vitamin therapy. “I’ll take a self-assessment later and see how I feel,” she said.
A growing trend
The IV therapy trend first became popular in 2014 when spas started popping up in major cities to treat everything from exhaustion to hangovers.
Hydrate IV joins other IV therapy places in Fort Collins, including a mobile service.
Hydrate IV, founded in 2016 by Katie Wafer, a former Denver Broncos cheerleader and medical sales professional, began franchising this year, catching the attention of Charles and business partner Blair Ramsing, who invested in the franchise after working with the company as consultants.
It is one of 10 Hydrate spas expected to open across the country by the end of next year as part of a nationwide franchise program.
Reception during the first two weeks in “has been great,” said Charles, who was also a client before buying the franchise. He said the therapies worked to mitigate migraines and chronic heartburn.
Prescription medicine to help migraines exacerbated the heartburn. With IV therapy he said he could “work through” the migraines without his heartburn kicking up.
Visibility on Linden
With strong visibility on Linden Street, Charles said business in the first two weeks has been strong thanks to walk-in traffic, and appointment bookings are starting to build.
Charles and Ramsing did “an extensive search” for possible sites in Fort Collins. “Old Town was the spot for us,” Charles said. “It’s absolutely where we wanted to be. The Old Town crowd is a robust and lively crowd.”
The franchisees signed a three-year lease with two options to renew for another three years.
The 1,400-square-foot spa has 11 recliners where clients can relax to soothing music while they receive their infusion. The menu offers services for illness, wellness, recovery and beauty, ranging from injections of vitamin B12 to IV infusions.
Costs start at $30 for a shot to IVs that start at $69 and can go higher than $200.
The Hydrate IV Bar also offers a $125 monthly membership (or $99 for students) where clients can get one IV, one B12 injection and members-only discounts.
All services are administered by registered nurses under the direction of Fort Collins physician Nola MacDonald and clinical nurse manager Nikki Schillaci.
Opening a medical spa during a pandemic comes with challenges, but Charles said Hydrate IV is following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, including allowing only six clients in the spa at one time and requiring masks.
“One of these days I look forward to using all 11 chairs at one time,” he said.
For more information about Hydrate IV Bar, call 970-672-8433 or visit hydrateivbar.com.
Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at [email protected] Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.
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