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Debra C.

MARCH 21, 2016 | M&A News

After spending the past 18 years as an 8-unit McDonald’s franchisee, I searched long and hard to find the right franchise concept and company to start my “second franchise career”. McDonald’s is a hard act to follow financially, but I knew that I wanted to be in a growing industry that had fewer “moving parts” and was easier to run than a restaurant. My criteria in judging a franchise was simple: It had to be in a growth industry, give me the quality of life and freedom that I desired, provide a continual revenue stream and have a corporate structure, people and vision that I could relate to.
I was fortunate that my due diligence led me to a successful business broker, Ken Stein of the Kensington Company who represented Hand and Stone Franchise Corporation in rolling out their concept nationwide. Ken is part of FranNet, a network of nationwide Franchise Consultants and had a wealth of franchise knowledge across many different industries. I soon narrowed my search down to a massage franchise, based on the incredible and documentable growth that will be realized over the next 10-15 years, based on US Labor Department statistics, the AMA, and various Wellness and Massage related sources.
have always been a big proponent of massage and felt that more people would incorporate massage into their lives if it were more affordable and available when they wanted it. Here was a company that understood that, and developed their membership-based massage franchise entirely on that premise. A great massage experience at an affordable price, seven days a week! I felt sure that this business model would certainly lap into the almost 80% of Americans that had never experienced a massage!
Both the people at the Kensington Company as well as Hand and Stone Corporate, allowed me to conduct my research and provided me with all of the information about the industry and their business model to make me feel comfortable with my decision. Never once did I feel pressured at any time during my due diligence or negotiations. The process of buying a franchise was, as Ken said; “…a living and breathing thing, which needed time to develop.”
After thorough investigation into Hand and Stone as well as three other competitors, I felt that Hand and Stone was uniquely qualified to be the leader in the industry of massage spa services. I decided to join the Hand and Stone Massage Spa team as a Regional Developer for Long Island and Northern New Jersey. I am doing exactly what I love to do; helping people get into business for themselves and be successful. Whether they have decided to leave the uncertainty of their corporate jobs and own their own business, or this is their 2nd or 3rd business venture — my regional team and I, as well as everyone at Hand and Stone Corporate is there to assist them in the training, start-up and running of their business. I tell my franchisees that one of the wonderful things about owning a “franchise” is that you are in business “for yourself’, but not “by yourself’. Another great part of being a Regional Developer is the ability to open my own Hand and Stone Massage Spa. This gives me the unique opportunity to understand, refine and improve on any issues or great ideas my franchisees bring to me, because I am not only a Regional Developer but also a franchisee, like them.
Now, I spend my time doing good works; helping others to be successful in business by teaching them how to work “on” their business and not “in” it; as well as helping to spread the many benefits of regular and affordable massage to our current and future customers. That makes me feel very good at the end of the day!

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