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A dream come true

The last two years have been transformative for Sara Johnson. She's become a small business owner and single mother.

There's no doubt the owner of Hope and Healing Massage has been through some ups and downs, but now that she's come out on the other end she's in a good place.

Hope and Healing Massage, which opened in June of 2009, is thriving. Rosemount's newest massage therapy business recently moved into a new, bigger location in the Waterford Commons building. Additionally she has added a chiropractor to her staff and is looking to add a couple more therapists.

"Things have really snowballed. We went from a one room hole-in-the wall to a beautiful three-room suite in a year," said Johnson. Johnson opened Hope and Healing in the office space next door to Anderson Insurance Associates at 3020 145 St. W.

But for all the highs, she had some lows as well. She opened Hope and Healing while going through a divorce. On top of it all she is raising three children.

Despite some adversity Johnson strived to succeed and has done pretty well for herself. For that, her alma mater, Everest Institute in Eagan, awarded her the school's Dream Award. She received the award Sept. 1 during the institute's graduation ceremony. During the ceremony she received a trophy and gave a brief speech.

"At first I was like, I don't get this. Why me? It was overwhelming to realize all that's happened to me in two years," said Johnson.

Johnson graduated from Everest last September.

"After thinking about it, I finally was like, wow, I did get far," said Johnson.

Johnson was nominated for the award, by former Everest Institute Massage Therapy instructor Rebecca Smith.

In the nomination Smith wrote, "Even during her times of stress, (Johnson) was working to try and reduce the stress of her peers and others around her. When I could not get in touch with a student, Sara was generally successful, getting a hold of them, talking them through their struggles and letting them know that they were missed in the class. She kept other students in the program, helping with daycare and transportation whenever she could, even though her own resources were limited."

Smith stated one example of Johnson's selflessness was that she picked up another massage therapy student from her home, brought her to school and stayed home from school to watch that student's baby, because she could "afford" the absence, while the other student could not.

Johnson continues to support the school by providing externship opportunities at the Hope and Healing office for current students.

"I am very impressed with Sara's commitment not only to her field, but her community and the school where she graduated. She is an amazing asset to her community and her field," said Smith in the nomination.

While honored to receive the award, Johnson said she just did what she felt was right and that she plans to keep working hard to see her business succeed.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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