Kelley notices a definite sense of community in downtown Morgan Hill

Bonni Kelley is the owner of Pono Wellness Spa in downtown Morgan Hill.
Photo courtesy Bonni Kelley

By Suman Ganapathy

Suman Ganapathy

When I nonchalantly booked a Zoom interview for a business less than a mile away with Pono Well-ness Spa owner and new Morgan Hill Downtown Association member Bonni Kelley, quarantining after a much needed break, I reflected on how much we’ve already adapted during this pandemic.

“Pono means harmony, balance and well-being in Hawaiian. Until COVID, Pono Wellness Spa — Hawai-ian Bliss in downtown Morgan Hill was building a loyal clientele base, and growing, with every year bet-ter than the last,” said Kelley, who loves her ability to help people and build a special connection with them.

The pandemic changed everything instantly. However, the spa was able to keep partially open due to exceptions for medical massages and rehabilitation, post injury and surgery work, including lymphatic drainage for hip and knee replacements, liposuction and cosmetic surgeries swellings. Though still not fully functional, a fighting spirit and a supportive clientele have kept the spa going, and will celebrate their third anniversary April 7.

Businesses like hers, including restaurants and retail, have adapted rapidly amidst a change of proto-cols, rules, and shutdowns. Kelley appreciates the trust clients put in her with their safety and has un-dertaken considerable expenditure to make the spa safe for clients and staff.

Before Jan. 25, only people with a doctor referral were permitted, but is currently open to everyone for massages and new therapeutic offerings. Showers, saunas and tubs will stay closed until the coun-ty transitions to the yellow tier.

Born and raised in San Jose, and currently a San Martin resident, Kelley worked in retail for 30 years with a secondary job in horse massage from 2004. No stranger to life’s twists, when laid off during the 2009 downturn, her horse clients suggested she help people instead.

It was the beginning of a new journey. Immediately training in core and advanced Neuro Muscular Therapy program through the National Holistic Institute, Kelley graduated in 2011, and continued her education in Chikly lymphatic drainage, cranial-sacral therapy, Reiki, and Oncology Massage — working with cancer survivors through the various stages of their journey, and other orthopedic modalities. She has six trained therapists with a wide variety of modalities. Massages are fine-tuned and special-ized for each client.

Kelley finds the resurgence of downtown even before COVID immensely exciting. Even with COVID, when restaurants and retail slowly opening, it’s “definitely hopping” downtown — people are excited to get out of the house.

Kelley noticed a definite sense of community in downtown Morgan Hill. Right now it is most important “to want everyone to look at Downtown Morgan Hill as a destination and figure out what we can do to help each other.” Kelly said.

She joined the Morgan Hill Downtown Association to get more involved, and we definitely need more active members like her.

Suman Ganapathy is a Morgan Hill Downtown Association board member. She is also a Leadership Morgan Hill Class of 2018 alumnus, President-elect AAUW Morgan Hill, volunteer docent at the San Jose Museum of Art “Let’s Look at Art” program, and Vice-Chair, Morgan Hill Library, Culture and Arts Commission.


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