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ADT Corporate Vice President Quits Job to Open Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

Joe O’Connell left behind a 30-year career to open his own business in North Carolina.

Joe O’Connell had had enough of working in corporate America. After a three-decade-long career at American District Telegraph (ADT) Security Services, O'Connell knew it was time for a change. As an avid outdoorsman and golfer, he knew he wanted his business to reflect his values. He started his search for different opportunities in the fitness industry, but nothing seemed to click. As he broadened his search, he found Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa

After learning the brand’s mission to bring quality spa and wellness practices to the masses, O’Connell was sold and began the process of bringing his business to Matthews. 

1851 Franchise: What did you do before franchising?

O’Connell:  I have a background in the security industry — I spent 30 years with ADT in the U.S. and Canada. I worked my way up from sales to vice president. After all those years, it was time to turn the page. My wife Jennifer and I are very into health and fitness, and we wanted to provide jobs and opportunities for people in the health industry. I researched opportunities for over a year and we liked the people at Hand & Stone, but we also loved the affordability aspect of it for our customers. 

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising? 

O’Connell: A friend of mine David Greenberg, who we met in Nashville about a year ago, introduced me to franchising. He worked with Ford in the marketing business. David and his wife were my neighbors in Toronto and we stayed friends with their family. One day, he was telling me about the franchise opportunities he was looking at and introduced me to Pete Gilfin who was in the brokerage aspect of finding franchise businesses. That’s how we were able to find Hand & Stone. 

1851: What types of brands did you look at?

O’Connell: All the brands we looked at were service industry and lifestyle focused, including some involving window cleaning and tree trimming. We looked at some fitness brands as well. My background in security is very diverse so I was all over the place. 

1851: Why did you choose Hand & Stone? What excited you most about the potential?

O’Connell: We love the location, we think Matthews is a great town and it has a super diverse demographic. We were able to find a good retail spot. It’s by a quaint little downtown area.

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

O’Connell: I think we’ll kind of play that by ear, for now we’re excited to get the first location up and running. After that, we’ll start having those conversations on further expansion. As far as jobs go, we plan on adding 15 jobs within the first 12 months and 30-35 jobs in total. 

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

O’Connell: Be patient, do your research and reach out to other franchise holders to get their opinion. I was able to meet with an owner who has several different units in North Carolina — gives you a chance to see the challenges. 

1851: What do you do in your personal time?

O’Connell: I’m mostly with my family, we have a place in South Carolina where we go boating, water skiing and play golf.