Stress-free ‘Urban Renewal’? In Morristown? On South Street?

Kathryn Oram and Dave Walters in front of what they say soon will be a high-tech rest stop called
Kathryn Oram and Dave Walters in front of what they say soon will be a high-tech rest stop called "Urban Renewal.' Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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The plan goes like this:

You’re stressed out. You need a break. So you duck into Urban Renewal (the former Elephant’s Nose pet store), plink down $18.95, collapse into a “massage pod,” and feel the tension melt away as soothing aromas and songs wash over you.

“It will be ultra chic, ultra cool, like a boutique hotel,” promises Dave Walters, who hopes to open Urban Renewal in late September, across from his SmartWorld Coffee shop on South Street.

Walters got the idea a few years ago, while attending a golf convention in Orlando FL. 

A painful back condition from his motorcycle racing days was flaring up. Someone pointed him to an exhibitor with a high-tech massage chair.

After a few minutes in the chair, he says, his pain evaporated.

He envisions five rooms, each with its own “pod” — a $10,000 chair that he says uses infrared scanning to pinpoint what’s ailing you, and then massages it.

Sessions may run from 15- to 30 minutes, and cost around $20. Open seven days a week, the place also can be rented for special events, he says. 

Walters, 58, has enlisted his friends, realtors Kathryn and Jeff Oram of Mendham, as partners.

Kathryn Oram and Dave Walters are planning a spa for people in a hurry to relax. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Kathryn Oram and Dave Walters are planning a spa for people in a hurry to relax. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

“Dave told me about the concept and I wanted to do it. I expected my husband would say no, but he liked it, too,” says Kathryn Oram, 44, who knows Morristown well, as the daughter of local realtor Kathryn Godby.

Kathryn Oram anticipates her six kids–athletes ranging from 14 to 23–will put the pods to the test.

“We spend a lot of money on physical therapy,” she says, adding she’s looking forward to some pod-time as well. “I want to make sure everyone has a great experience.”

RELAX, REVIVE, REJUVENATE

SmartWorld is celebrating a decade of  “100 percent organic fair trade coffee” in Morristown. Walters opened a Denville coffee shop in 2010, and Mendham followed about 18 months ago.

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT...this thing's designed to shake the stress out of you.
FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT…this thing’s designed to shake the stress out of you.

He has donated coffee and sweets to numerous charitable events in Morristown over the years, and he has been active with the nonprofit Grow It Green Morristown.

Walters studied economics at Montclair State University and is an avid cyclist, motorcyclist and weightlifter.

Customers keep tweaking the Denville resident to run for Congress. He’d rather de-stress his would-be constituents, one pod at a time.

“There’s nothing like it in the country,” Walters says of Urban Renewal. With a motto of Relax, Revive, Rejuvenate, “it could be the biggest hit, or the biggest bomb.”

Coffee has given him this chance to roll the dice. But he’s not serving that jittery beverage in Urban Renewal.

“Only green tea,” he promises.

PEACE, BROTHER: Dave Walters, owner of SmartWorld Coffee, on Halloween 2016 in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
PEACE, BROTHER: Dave Walters, owner of SmartWorld Coffee, on Halloween 2016 in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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