After 19 years of operation, Egea Wellness Spa on Sherman Avenue has shut its doors, in large part because it could not find enough employees to walk through those doors.

Owners Kathy and Chris Pappas posted a “thank you” letter on a window for customers to see, which directly cites the COVID pandemic-induced labor shortage as the reason Egea went out of business.

The inability to find enough workers trained in massage therapy and other spa services such as facials forced Egea to reduce its hours of operation when the pandemic hit.

Brown paper covers the spa windows.

“With our staffing down 55%,” the letter explains, “and revenues down commensurately, the dramatic losses incurred over the last 20 months have forced us to make this very hard decision” to close.

The owners say they kept Egea open this long during the pandemic “on the sincere belief that the labor market would turn and the employees would return to the industry.”

Unfortunately, that did not happen.

“The past 20 months have been hard on all of us personally, and especially small businesses,” the letter says.

“Our experience was no different and we could not avoid the unexpected and unpredictable challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the owners explain.

And so, they say, Egea is “ceasing all business operations effective immediately.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.