by Joan Tupponce
A national chain of message services plans to treat the aches and pains resulting from the Roanoke region’s growing reputation as an outdoor destination.
Kent Swarts, the regional developer for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Massage Envy, sees Roanoke as a “good fit” for his company’s massage and spa services. The city has a sizeable population and “it’s also an active-lifestyle type of area,” he says.
Swarts looks for locales that offer a variety of outdoor and sports activities. “Those [types of endeavors] affect people’s muscles. They are things that massage will help with,” he says.
Massage Envy already has more than 20 clinics in other parts of Virginia. It plans to open two franchise locations in the Roanoke area. Qualified franchisee candidates are required to have a minimum net worth of $500,000 and liquid assets of at least $150,000. The initial investment can range from approximately $352,000 to $569,000, including the franchisee fee.
Massage Envy was founded with the goal of bringing massage “down from the elite circles to everyday people,” Swarts says. “We’ve accomplished that by [making] our clinics more affordable.”
The company added 87 locations last year. It now has more than 770 Massage Envy and Massage Envy Spa locations in 44 states in the U.S., with a membership base of more than 1.1 million.
The company has three clinics in Richmond, four in Virginia Beach and one in Charlottesville. “The rest are in Northern Virginia,” Swarts says. “The Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach and Richmond [locations] are some of the top-performing clinics in the country.”
Massage Envy’s wellness program for members includes a monthly massage and additional massages and facials at a lower rate. A company website advertises a personal wellness program at $59 a month but notes that rates and services may vary at different locations.
The company stresses professionalism and convenience in addition to affordability, Swarts says. “We locate in areas where people are used to going to shop,” he says, noting that the clinics are open seven days a week. “We look for areas that are safe and feel safe.”
The location of the Roanoke franchises still is being decided. “We are working with a commercial real estate broker,” Swarts says.
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