Since 2004, Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa has become the premier massage and facial brand in the wellness space and has grown to more than 475 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2020, a year when many brands across sectors were struggling, Hand & Stone signed 25 new franchise locations in markets across the country. Now, thanks in part to a rise in prime real estate opportunities and a pent-up consumer demand for health and wellness, Hand & Stone is positioned for even more growth in 2021.
Carlos and Katie Perez are an Albany, New York-based, husband-and-wife franchisee duo behind one of the brand’s upcoming locations. Both have led careers in the health and wellness industry.
Carlos, originally from Venezuela, is a physical therapist, working in an outpatient therapy center for some time before switching to work as the primary physical therapist for their local school district in Stone Ridge. Katie, originally from Queens, has worked as a nursing home administrator for the past 28 years. Together, they know the importance of wellness, and love getting massages on a regular basis. Katie has always dreamed of opening her own spa, and when COVID-19 hit, it further reinforced their decision to make the brand a part of their futures.
“Two to three years ago we started researching franchising and came across Hand & Stone. When we were able to make it out to the Hand & Stone spa near us, we were immediately impressed,” said Carlos. “I used to work in an outpatient therapy clinic, and I used massage in my practice. With Katie’s dream to open a spa and our experience, it was a no-brainer to franchise with Hand & Stone. Plus, the membership model and recurring revenue were very attractive as a business model.”
Carlos and Katie ultimately chose to franchise with Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa because of its welcoming atmosphere, luxury spa experience and backing from a strong corporate team. They will be opening a Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Albany, New York in the spring of 2021 with plans to open a second down the line.
According to Nicole Alburger, senior director of franchise development for Hand & Stone, franchisees like the Perezes are joining at an opportune time.
“People are not spending as much money on vacations right now,” she said. “Instead, they are looking for ways to feel as though they’re getting that vacation experience without traveling. People want a luxury experience without breaking the bank, which is a concept that the Hand & Stone brand was built on. Plus, customers are now looking for more consistent health, wellness and mental well-being services close to home.”
Hand & Stone brings luxury spa services to the masses and offers a variety of different revenue streams for franchisees including massages, facials and hair removal. Between massage and skin care services and products, spa owners can feel a sense of stability regardless of the economic climate.
In addition to pent-up consumer demand, Alburger also notes that landlords are looking to fill real estate spaces, and franchisees can take advantage of low rent and more attractive leases. “Hand & Stone is service-based and Amazon-proof, which means spas will drive clientele to landlord’s shopping centers,” she said. “This puts us in a good position to negotiate, lock in lower interest rates and fill prime spaces.”
Hand & Stone has also proved itself as a supportive franchisor during COVID-19 by providing enhanced communication between the leadership team and the franchise system, resources and guidance for franchisees on preserving cash flow, and social media and blog content aimed at keeping customers engaged. In 2020, Hand & Stone even partnered with other industry leaders in the massage and wellness space to lobby for massage services as an essential business, further establishing itself as a leader in the wellness space.
“New franchisees can be confident with the backing of a nearly 500-spa support system,” said Sarah Moudry, director of franchise development for Hand & Stone. “That is why we are more stable than many of our competitors right now — they don’t have the support. Now, more than ever, prospective franchisees are looking for the backing of a proven brand, especially in the health and wellness segment.”
With so much added support for its franchisees and attention to changing consumer needs, the excitement surrounding franchise opportunities with Hand & Stone has positioned it well to hit the 500-unit milestone in 2021.