Hand & Stone Opens Its First Location in Bergen County, New Jersey

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Hand & Stone Opens Doors in Emerson; To Relax, Rejuvenate Community with Top-Tier, Cost Efficient Model

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“We see the towns in Bergen County such as Emerson as a prime market for our brand’s development,” said Todd Leff, CEO and President of Hand & Stone.

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa just opened its first Bergen County location in Emerson, New Jersey at 494 Kinderkamack Road on October 17, 2011 in the Pascack Valley Shopping Center, also home to Stop & Shop and Marshall’s.

“We see the towns in Bergen County such as Emerson as a prime market for our brand’s development,” said Todd Leff, CEO and President of Hand & Stone. “We are pleased to have Jeff and Ken Silbert continue to lead our brand with top-tier services and integrity in this new market for us.”

The Silberts come from a strong business background where Ken was a senior managing partner with Accenture and Jeff leads his own advisory firm helping ambitious business owners scale their companies. With decades of combined business experience and different strengths, the brothers desired to go into business together. Ken will use his operations experience to guide them while Jeff will focus on business development for Hand & Stone.

The brother franchisee team will lead the development of 10 new locations in North Jersey, beginning with the Emerson location followed by a new location in the town of Aberdeen in Monmouth County opening in November.

Proving that massage therapy isn't just for the rich and famous anymore, the new Hand & Stone will erase what once was considered a penchant of the affluent by offering services to all levels of consumers.

“I’m thrilled to be opening our first Hand & Stone spa in Emerson,” said Jeff Silbert, owner of the new location. “I am looking forward to bringing affordable and effective massage and facial services to the community of Emerson and its neighboring towns such as Westwood, Oradell, and Washington township.”

Launched in 2005 by John Marco, a physical therapist with 20 years of experience, Hand & Stone’s mission is to bring massage therapy to the masses. Clients enjoy the treatment, but "most aren't just coming for the indulgence," Leff said. "They're coming for stress reduction and pain relief, and many on the suggestion of their doctors."

Under the new provisions of the recently-passed health care bill, alternative medical procedures, including massages from licensed therapists at spas like Hand & Stone, are being taken more seriously by the traditional medical community. According to Leff, about 75 percent of health savings account plans and HMOs will now reimburse patients for massage therapy if their doctor writes a formal prescription. Ailments worthy of that prescription include muscle and joint pain, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (commonly known as TMJ), and stress. According to the 2010 AMTA Industry Report massage use among older Baby Boomers (ages 55-64) has doubled in the past ten years and use among those older than 65 has tripled during that same time.

While the typical massage client used to have to track down a freelance massage therapist, schedule an appointment days in advance, and pay over $100 for a one-hour treatment, most Hand & Stone clients book their appointments on the same day as service and pay 30 percent less than the traditional hourly rate. Better yet, when they sign up for a one-session-per-month plan, they end up paying around $60 per visit.

The average customer isn't a wealthy socialite with nothing better to do, she's a 42-year-old female with an annual household income of $65,000, has children and loves to shop at Target and Kohls. With that busy, overscheduled lifestyle, it’s not surprising that the number one reason clients visit Hand and Stone is for stress reduction. Hand & Stone's clientele is roughly 70 percent female, 30 percent male, with an increasing number of male patrons.

As massage spas become more mainstream in the health care industry, Hand & Stone stays at the top of the game by adding locations and services to keep the brand fresh. That strategy has proven to be successful, as the addition of facials and waxing to the services roster has boosted the average comparable store sales by over 40 percent during this past year, in a very tough economic environment. After awarding a record 40 new franchises in 2010, Leff expects to sign another 50 new franchisees to the Hand & Stone system this year, each one investing a total of around $325,000, including franchise fees, to outfit a suburban, strip-mall location with space for at least 10 massage rooms.

"Twenty-two percent of Americans got a massage in 2009, and that figure is growing. As massage becomes a more integrated part of health care, we see this business achieving even wider-spread growth and longevity," said Leff.

ABOUT HAND & STONE
Hand & Stone is a 50-plus unit massage and facial spa franchise with a mission to bring massage and facial services to the masses, meeting demand of consumers who wish to receive the long term health benefits of these services. Launched in 2005 by a passionate physical therapist, John Marco and now led by franchise veteran Todd Leff, Hand & Stone now has locations in 12 states and Canada with plans to open an additional 20 locations by the end of 2011. For more information on Hand & Stone, visit http://www.handandstone.com.

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Kristen Healey
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