Entrepreneur Mike Thompson's Favorite Things

Entrepreneur Mike Thompson's Favorite Things

Mike Thompson, 42, had only one complaint with his weekly massage: "The experience was all too girly." So the marketing pro did what any budding entrepreneur would do: open his own spa. In 2006, he and his business partner, Pete Hillman, 39, launched Chicago's Sir Spa. Now, with 36 employees and $1 million in annual sales, Sir Spa lures clients with sleek leather, wood, and chrome trimmings. "People in the spa industry said we had to do things a certain way," says Thompson. "We finally said, 'No, we're going to do it our way.'" Their way it is. "You won't find the chocolate raspberry massage of the month here."

Shaving

A traditional shaving brush and Baxter of California Super Close Shave Formula. "We don't offer barber services at the spa, so this is what I keep at home."

Chicago Blues Festival

"Chicago is known for its summer festivals. It's a fantastic time to get reacquainted with everyone who's been hibernating for the past six months."

Michael's Pizzeria

"Michael's thin crust is my favorite. Yes, Chicago does have thin-crust pizza!"

Volvo v70 station wagon

"It's amazing how much transporting you have to do with a small business. Supplies, samples, you're moving things all the time."

Johnston & Murphy wingtips

"These are just classic and solid. I have one pair. They last forever."

Vinyl records

"I do have an iPod, but I like to escape technology. I love old vinyl."

Cuff links

Made from recycled typewriter keys. "They remind me of my grandfather, who was a newspaper reporter."

Thailand

"Experiencing the hospitality and learning about the culture was really amazing. I want to bring some of that friendliness into our spa."

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