Innovative Funding Solutions from Benetrends Financial
Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery and a little research to make your vision become a reality. When Denise and Jim Vizzini relocated to Pennsylvania, Denise had to leave her massage therapy business of 11 years. She still had the entrepreneurial vision and began to research franchises; in the long run, they decided that with her massage ownership experience and his corporate background, to look into massage franchises. Denise did her homework on several franchises before learning about Hand & Stone.
Denise did a lot of research to learn about the brand. She first went undercover as a secret shopper, asking numerous questions about the company, and was pleased not only with the answers but with the outstanding level of customer service. Denise’s great customer experience prompted her to get in touch with Bob McQuillan, VP of Franchise Development and attend a Discovery Day. In addition, Denise looked into the background of John Marco, the founder of Hand & Stone. She immediately knew that his leadership combined with Hand & Stone’s philosophical message of health and wellness was closer to her own values and goals. Finally, in August of 2011, Denise and her husband officially became a part of the Hand & Stone franchise, opening in Royersford, PA.
Within two years, Hand & Stone Royersford had 20+ employees and was still growing! Since the time of their grand opening, their membership total increased from 91 to 700 members strong. With the importance of regular massage and facials as part of an individual wellness program, Hand & Stone is able to stand out from its competitors. Unlike other franchises there is a support system that comes with being part of the Hand & Stone team. Having trainers, marketing experts, and an IT team at their disposal makes Hand & Stone an ideal investment. Denise also takes a hands-on approach with the development of new therapists. “I get to use my years of experience in this industry to help educate new therapists just out of school, and to share my passion of the massage and facial industry as well, Denise said.”
In 2017, Denise and her husband launched a second Hand & Stone location in Blue Bell, PA. Today, both Spa’s now have over 55 combined employees and 2,215 members! Even with the massive brand appeal there are plenty of challenges Denise and Jim face daily. “The business has become more competitive since 2013, and more massage therapy businesses are popping up.” They continue to educate themselves on best practices and stay ahead of the curve on all things relating to massage therapy.
Funding their business has been a pleasant experience. Bob put them in touch with Benetrends, and Benetrends has been with Denise and Jim every step of the way. According to Denise, “Benetrends helped us find sources of funding”. With a healthy retirement plan, they used the Rainmaker Plan® as the cash injection for an SBA loan to fund both of their Hand & Stone locations. And now they’re using the same funding strategy to fund their new franchise venture, Apple Spice, a premier box lunch delivery and catering franchise.
Denise and Jim had decided to expand their passion of franchise ownership, by becoming a part of the Apple Spice team. When asked why Apple Spice, Denise said “Apple Spice positions themselves to be in a rotation of providing businesses with high quality and tremendous variety of box lunches.” She continues, “During discovery day in Salt Lake City we were pleased by the experience and support of the corporate team.” What also inspired Denise and Jim to become a part of the Apple Spice franchise, was the opportunity to co-own the Malvern location with Lynn and Eric Frick. “We were excited to share our franchising experience with longtime friends, who were interested in pursuing their own business opportunity. We found Apple Spice to be a great fit for our partnership.”
Denise and Jim have learned a lot about themselves in addition to franchise ownership strategies. Denise says, “You have to have an interest in what you do. You have to have a hands-on ownership presence.” As a partial owner, Jim takes great pride in receiving positive customer feedback. “One of my favorite things is someone will come in and say they have lower back pain or extreme stress and the therapist will know how to take care of it,” he said. “Then the customer will write us a nice note later, thanking us for what we did for them.”
Denise offers advice for entrepreneurs dealing with stress before opening day. “Try to go on vacation the week before you open. You will need to relax before all the fun begins.”