Maryanne Vizoco's Hand & Stone Story - August Employee Spotlight

My Hand & Stone journey did not have a traditional start. I began working on Hand & Stone locations almost three years before I started working for Hand & Stone. As an architect, I started designing Hand & Stone spas in 2015. In late 2017, Hand & Stone had the idea to bring design services in-house, which would bring another integral part of the spa development process under the corporate umbrella. With that, HS Design, Hand & Stone’s in-house design firm, was created. This allows our franchisees more of a ‘one-stop-shop for their spa development needs and provides a design experience that is tailored to the Hand & Stone franchisee.

As the in-house architect, I am responsible for working with franchisees to develop a layout for their spa, helping them select colors and design elements that give their spa its own unique personality, and creating the drawings that the contractor will use to build that spa. I review designs and documents completed by outside vendors for brand standard compliance. I also work to continuously evaluate, implement, and maintain the corporate design standards that are distinctive to our brand, ensuring a consistent spa design across all new Hand & Stone locations.

My other role here at Hand & Stone is Spa Opening Ambassador. This is a new support role that has been implemented to help our franchisees throughout the spa opening process from the time they sign a franchise agreement until the time their spa opens for business. We see this as another resource for a first-time franchisee that may need a little extra guidance and encouragement throughout the development process as they begin their journey as a business owner. I help franchisees manage their spa development task to-do list and act as liaison with the introduction of multiple departments through the opening process. We find that having this support role in place allows a franchisee to ask a question that they might otherwise be too uncomfortable or too shy to ask; there is always someone available to answer or point them in the right direction.

At nearly seven years into my journey with Hand & Stone, I have helped almost 200 owners open a spa. Each owner comes from a unique background and it is interesting to see how those backgrounds influence their spa’s development process. I got into the realm of retail architecture by happenstance almost nine years ago. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think I would be the in-house architect for a brand that has over 500 locations and is opening more each month. What I do is not overly glamorous, and I am not creating award-winning skyscrapers that grace the covers of magazines, but I am helping franchisees bring their dreams of becoming business owners to reality. It is a pretty cool part of my job, and I am incredibly proud to be a part of that journey!