A few years ago, when I was in Key West, I used to make a point to check out the Key Western massage parlors.
The prices were right, the staff was attentive, and the customers were friendly.
Now, I just don’t have the same enthusiasm.
When I visit the local Key West massage parlor, I can’t help but feel like I’m walking into a place where my body has been taken over by a giant, furry creature, a giant stuffed bear, or a giant panda.
But, then again, the Key Washington, Maryland-based Key West Spa & Massage is still one of the most popular massage parlocities in the nation, with thousands of satisfied customers who come every day.
The company, which has its headquarters in Key W, has been around since 1983, but it has expanded since then, becoming a franchise with a growing number of locations.
It operates over 100 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Asia, and it offers a variety of services, including full body massages and massage therapy.
The owner, the late John F. Keyes, was an accomplished professional, with a degree in massage from the University of Virginia and a number of years of experience in the massage industry.
His clients ranged from wealthy families to single moms to college students.
The most recent of his clients, according to his website, was a woman who was a student at the University in Washington, D.C.
During his lifetime, he served on the board of directors for the American Association of Physical Therapists, which is the world’s largest physical therapy association.
Keys daughter, Julie Keyes Keyes (now wife of the late Dr. Keyses), said her father had many, many passions.
“John had a lot of passions, and one of them was, ‘Why can’t we have a spa in every town in America?
Why can’t I have one in every city?'”
Julie Keynes Keyes told TIME in an interview.
“And that is exactly what he wanted to do.”
In Key West in particular, the key word here is “everytown.”
Keyes was born in New Jersey and grew up in Maryland.
He had a fascination with the West Virginia area, and as a child, he had his own collection of local attractions.
At a young age, Keyes decided to join a local group of children’s charities that raised money for local schools.
He was the volunteer coordinator for a school that raised funds for cancer research, and he was also involved in the local school board.
As Keyes got older, he became interested in massage therapy, which was something that he loved, but had not tried before.
He decided to take his training in the field to Key West and decided to begin offering his services in Keyes West.
“I did my first Massage Therapy at age 12 and then decided that I wanted to become a Massage Therapist.
I went to the National Association of Massage and Conditioning Therapies (NAMCTT) in Key Largo, Florida, and learned a lot,” he told TIME.
“I became a certified Massage therapist and a Certified Massage Instructor.”
In the early 1990s, Key West started expanding to include other parts of the country, like New York City and other cities in the Midwest and the South.
Key West now has more than 200 locations in key markets around the country.
Julie Keyes said her dad “didn’t take himself too seriously.”
“He would tell you, ‘It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, or if you have a great education.
You just gotta have fun,'” Julie Keys Keyes recalled.
“That’s what really brought him in.”
Key West, the company with its own facilities, employs more than 3,000 people and has a large payroll, as well as several hundred other people who work in the company.
Key and Julie Keyses Keyes own a home in Key City, which they also share with their daughter.
Key has two daughters, Emily and Molly, and their younger sister, Lola.
Key also has two granddaughters.
Julie Keyys Keyes says her dad is a kind, gentle, loving man who was very devoted to his customers.
“He really was a gentleman,” she said.
“He didn’t care if you were rich or not.
He just wanted you to have a wonderful day.”
Julie was also surprised to learn that John Keyes passed away in 2013.
Key was an avid runner and enjoyed being in shape.
He enjoyed swimming, and enjoyed spending time with his family.
“When John died, he left a huge footprint in the KeyWest family, both personally and professionally,” Julie Keyings Keyes wrote in an email to TIME.
“We were devastated when we learned that John had passed away.