Lillian Cassidy was preparing to retire as a medical massage therapist but wanted to keep her hand in the profession.
So, in 2017 she opened Central Washington School of Massage Therapy in Selah’s Primrose Plaza. She and her two instructors provide training for massage therapists at the school.
Born in Canada, Cassidy was raised in Grandview, where she graduated from high school in 1976. She attended Yakima Valley College and graduated from Yakima Business College in 1978. She is also a 2003 graduate of Cascade Summit School of Massage.
A widow, Cassidy has four children and seven grandchildren.
What led to your starting Central Washington School of Massage Therapy?
My 16-year career as a medical massage therapist was nearing the end and, in planning for an early retirement, I wanted to stay involved in the profession and help teach. By opening Central Washington School of Massage Therapy, I’ve been able to do that and share my knowledge, skills and techniques with students. The future looks bright.
What challenges did you face when you started out, and how did you overcome them?
Having never owned a business before, I quickly learned what was necessary on the local level, and landlord Bill Harris was helpful, including the construction process of the school. I sought out help from a good accounting firm to help with my accounting needs, and I also sought help from my lead instructor on the application process for state approval and licensing from the Workforce Training Board and the Department of Health. It all came together, and we opened our doors in mid-August 2017 and our first class began in September 2017.
What do you consider a good day at the school?
Every day is a good day here at the school — it’s a very positive and supportive learning environment. It’s a great feeling of pride when I see students excited to learn new skills and watch them develop confidence. My day instructor, Ronda Knight, and evening instructor, Dolores Martinez, are some of the best in the field and carry out our mission to provide our students with a good, quality education.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?
I would have considered leasing a larger space, given the growing class sizes we’re experiencing, but I see that as a positive, not a negative.
How do you relax after a day at the school?
When the weather’s nice, I enjoy being outside in my yard, relaxing out on the deck with a glass of wine, meeting up with friends, reading and watching my two favorite TV series, “This is Us” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”