With over 425 locations nationwide, it might be a surprise to find out that Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa started out as a small single location family-owned spa 14 years ago in Toms River.
Founder John Marco has since retired, but his children Nicholas and Tara have taken over the original location as well at two others, and after a recent renovation and expansion, will host a grand reopening of the Toms River location at 1358 Hooper Ave. on Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Additionally, four new locations are slated to open within the next year in Egg Harbor, Kearny, South Brunswick and Jersey City; and another expansion is underway in Hamilton.
These follow eight New Jersey locations— in Hoboken, Hackensack, Montclair, Bordentown, Englewood, Flanders, Bayonne and Bridgewater—that have opened within the last year.
“We’ve continued to expand in markets that are surrounded by Hand & Stone Spas because our data shows they will out-perform less populated markets,” explained Director of Franchise Development Bob McQuillan. “In addition, they will inherit what the existing franchisees help build, which is a branding proposition and platform for consistent media concentration in our targeted markets.”
Hand & Stone keeps the footprint of its individual stores small, keeping to a square footage that allows for treatment rooms, a lobby, a break room, and a waiting room for in between treatments. Its clientele isn’t coming in for a day away, but rather a part of their lifestyle.
“People don’t have time to come through a locker room and to hang out on a monthly basis. It doesn’t fit the experience. They come weekly,” Nicholas Marco said.
Like other spas, Hand & Stone takes walk-ins, but its membership model offers one massage or facial per month and then discounts on other services and gift purchased thereafter for $69.95. If a member can’t come in for a service on any particular month, their service will roll over into the following month.
“They could go somewhere else and spend a lot more money to do it here and there, or they could make it part of their lifestyle,” Marco said. “Just like going to the gym, I should regularly get a facial to keep my skin fresh and glowing, or regularly get a massage to keep my back and muscle soreness in check because I work out a lot.”
Hand & Stone’s number one client is the soccer mom, he said, in their mid-to-late 30s. Male clientele is growing, though, including in the skincare category which accounts for 35 percent of business.
“[The hard part] is convincing them to get the facial. Once they do it, they’re hooked,” Marco said.
While the brand is expanding—Marco said franchisees open about one location a week across the country—they’re selective about who they sell the rights to open a Hand & Stone location to.
“We only sell the rights to open a Hand & Stone to investors that are seriously considering a hands-on approach. The reason is simple,” McQuillan said. “We have shown the industry that an owner-operator involved in their business day-to-day produces better results. We believe it’s the main reason we’ve gone from 25 locations to over 425 in just 10 years.”
Franchisees typically need $150,000 in non-borrowable, liquid funds. To cover the rest of the total investment, which ranges from $532,563 and $618,327, the remainder of the funds are borrowable.