Stormking Spa celebrates 10 years
by Edie Roudebush                                                                                  


Rena Hermanson, LMP, left and Deborah Sample, LMP, and owner of Stormking.
Tucked into the Ashford woods near Mount Rainier for the last ten years is a full-fledged spa with a few cabins. Stormking Spa, owned and operated by Deborah Sample, offers a variety of treatments in a northwest setting.

Sample started out in forestry when she lived on the east coast, then tried her hand at a number of things when she moved out here in 1985 to join her husband, Steve Brown, stationed at Fort Lewis. At one point, she got a massage and decided on that as a career change.

Graduating from Alexander’s School of Natural Therapeutics in 1992, she got her massage license that year. She started by carrying her massage table around in her car, then set up Stormking in an Ashford cabin in 1995. Popularity caused them to expand.

Stormking’s present location is the historic Mesler house. Alexander Mesler, Sr., built the house in the 1890s. Alexander, Jr., subsequently built Alexander’s Country Inn. Sample and Brown bought the building and ten acres in a private, wooded setting in 1999, and transformed it from the Growly Bear B&B; the couple lives on the first floor. In 2003, the upstairs B&B rooms were renovated into spa treatment rooms.

There is a single room, a double room for couples’ massages (very popular and hard to find elsewhere) and a soaking room.

The facility is filled with relaxing sights and sounds; soothing water fountains and subdued music, candles and stained glass lamps. The décor is northwest comfortable and elegant, with Native American prints and throws, warm wood on floors, walls and ceilings, photomurals and lovely views from the windows. “Instead of being extra fancy,” said Sample, “we like people to feel comfortable here.” Outside is a private hot tub and a custom built sauna, both overlooking and within earshot of gurgling Goat Creek.

Sample started out doing all the work herself, but now has four other Licensed Massage Practitioners working for her: Rena Hermanson, Aili Wikander, Becky Lundin and Robin Jacobs. “Massage in any spa setting is the number 1 treatment,” said Sample. “Everyone who works here needs to be a LMP. They also have to give a very good massage.” They then embellish with a variety of wraps, facials and other treatments.

Sample wants customers to feel welcome and relaxed. “My business philosophy is: it’s all about service,” she explained. In order for people not to feel rushed, the staff does a lot of work behind the scenes, organizing it to flow seemingly effortlessly. Hermanson added, “I get a kick out of taking stressed people and turning them into contented mush.”

The spa is open 365 days a year, as business warrants. Stormking’s entire “Spa Treats Menu” can be found on their websites at or, or call 360-569-2964.