There’s a new kid on the block in Bay Ridge. Soul Detox, a “spiritual and wellness movement,” officially opened its newest location in Bay Ridge on Jan. 7 with a ceremony attended by councilmember Justin Brannan, employees, and a crowd of supportive Bay Ridgeites.
Owner Mohammad Widdi is the mastermind behind over seven other startups, but the latest storefront is his first brick-and-mortar shop in Bay Ridge, the neighborhood he calls home. Soul Detox’s primary offering is cupping — a physical and spiritual practice where small glass globes with negative pressure are applied to the skin, drawing the tissue up into the cup. Known for the red-and-purple circular marks it leaves behind, practitioners say cupping increases blood flow and helps remove toxins from the body.
The practice allows “for proper oxygenized blood flow which helps you mentally, spiritually and physically,” according to Widdi.
Soul Detox started as a high-end mobile service in the height of the pandemic, and while the idea was always to have his own storefront, mandates from the federal Centers for Disease Control in Prevention in 2020 forced Widdi to offer the service out a Sprinter van.
As business grew and mandates were lifted, the entrepreneur started creating his wellness center in the only part of town that made sense to him.
“For me as being a Brooklynite and someone who has lived in Bay Ridge his whole life, over 34 years, it just made sense to open up my first brick and mortar here,” he said. “This is home and Bay Ridge is always going to be a special place in my heart.”
After the pandemic forced many small businesses to close permanently, Third Avenue — a hub for commerce and community in Bay Ridge – is bouncing back. Two new locally-owned businesses — a Sicilian marketplace and a yoga studio — opened on the thoroughfare last month, bringing some life and color back to the stretch. The last two years have been hard for all businessowners, including Widdi, who said that while getting Soul Detox ready to open was hard, his previous startup experience helped him not only design the health and wellness center, but efficiently bring his ideas into fruition.
“Nothing ever goes smooth, but the fact that the purpose is there — which is to cater to people’s wellness, to add value to their lives — for me that is what makes me persevere through it,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “It was definitely a rollercoaster experience with delays on construction and certain materials being delayed and art work but it came together and that’s what the great part about it is.”
His original grand opening was set for October 15, 2022, but construction delays pushed the big day to this past weekend. A crowd gathered under space heaters outside the Third Avenue location to enjoy snacks, tea and celebrate the launch of Soul Detox.
“We didn’t open up a store, we opened up a brand. That’s what the difference is. With a brand, its about experience. You come in and you want to see how rich and timeless the history is,” the businessman said.
Soul Detox is open Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. at 9716 3rd Ave. near 97th Street in Bay Ridge. Visit their website for additional details on the practice, pricing and contact information.