Eric and Christiana Anthony are no strangers to helping others feel great. In 2009, the husband-and-wife duo signed on with the leading massage and facial concept Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Greensboro, North Carolina. They subsequently opened a spa in Winston-Salem in 2011, then a Fayetteville location in 2015, a Southern Pines location in 2016, Concord in 2017 and Apex in 2018. The couple’s newest location, High Point, will open summer of 2019. Their Greensboro and Winston-Salem locations are some of the brand’s highest grossing.
Having launched their first Hand & Stone during the recession, the Anthonys quickly found that they loved providing a service that was all about care.
“Community is really important to us,” said Christiana Anthony. “We wanted to benefit our community and make people happy, and what better way than with spa services?”
The communities in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem have certainly responded—the two Hand & Stone locations are some of the brand’s highest-performing. When asked to what the Anthonys attribute their success, Christiana Anthony was emphatic.
“The locations and the people,” Anthony said. “We are located in two very busy lifestyle centers. And the people part is our staff—we have the most wonderful and amazing staff. It takes every single person in the spa to make it successful, and we give them all the credit. We also have extremely talented directors and managers who manage the day-to-day operations.”
With a standout staff they laud and communities about which they are passionate, the Anthonys clearly prioritize people.
It’s perhaps no wonder, then, that several years ago in 2016, after the pair’s two daughters headed off to college—and with their Hand & Stone locations booming—the Anthonys realized they had a unique and powerful opportunity.
“With the success of our spas, we got to a point where we had the funds to sponsor a charity,” Christiana Anthony explained. “We learned about the Boys and Girls Clubs of America through Eric’s relationship with a golf buddy who was on the Boys and Girls council. Eric was playing golf one day and said ‘Hey, tell me about what you're doing.’ We realized we were kind of living in a bubble. We lived in our own little world while raising our kids.”
As they learned more about the needs of the underprivileged kids in their community and the services provided by their local Boys & Girls Club chapter, the Anthonys decided to jump in.
“We joined in 2016, then we got on the Boys & Girls Council. Eric is the president of our chapter and I’m a council member, but my main passion is volunteering in the clubs with the kids,” Christiana Antony said. “I spend the majority of my time doing actual hands-on work with the kids, and Eric works more on council representation, budgeting and organization.”
Attendees of the Boys & Girls Club attend after school programs, typically from about 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Students can connect with mentors, play games and receive homework help, all of which are tasks in which Christiana Anthony loves being involved. For her, the kids make it all worth it.
“They’re absolutely amazing children and they’re some of most at-risk kids in our community, but they need to know they have a bright future. We’re there to support that,” Anthony said.
In addition to serving on the council and volunteering, the Anthonys have organized events and fundraisers in support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. To date, they’ve raised approximately $70,000.
“That’s money that goes directly to supporting programming for those kids,” Christiana Anthony said.
The Anthonys explained that, amidst their ongoing philanthropic efforts, they have received support from Hand & Stone’s people-centric corporate team.
“Hand & Stone is such a positive environment—and as a business, Hand & Stone enriches lives. It makes people feel good to get a relaxing massage and facial on a monthly basis,” Anthony explained. “It’s such a great brand and business model, and that’s what gave us the opportunity to be successful professionally. Personally, we’re able to carry that success forward with the Boys & Girls Club.”
Christiana Anthony also spoke to the benefits of Hand & Stone’s franchise model.
“Corporate is absolutely supportive, and that was the whole reason to go with a franchise in the first place, because you have the tools and support to operate your business on your own,” Anthony explained. “Corporate encourages franchisees to give back in any way they can—by participating in and supporting community events, holding fundraisers, volunteering, etc. It’s on each of us. The Boys & Girls opportunity fell in our lap when we were able to take the time and had the funds to contribute.”
According to Christiana Anthony, one of the best parts of being a Hand & Stone business owner is the ability to give back. “When you’re a business owner and you have this incredible service, it’s empowering to say, ’Let’s make that person’s day,’” Anthony said. “We do a lot of giving gift cards for one-time charitable events. We’re often asked to donate and we most often say yes. Anything we can do to further any and all organizations in our community is a great thing; their success benefits everyone.”
Bob McQuillan, Hand & Stone’s VP of Franchise Development, emphasized that the Anthonys truly embody a unique philanthropic drive.
“In the years in which I’ve been lucky enough to know Eric and Christiana Anthony, they have truly been an inspiration. They’ve worked so hard to build their businesses over the past decade and that energy and passion is still there today,” McQuillan said. “You often hear of people writing checks or donating money for certain causes, but it’s rare to see the work behind the words. Eric and Christiana have burned the proverbial candle at both ends, and The Boys and Girls Club Chapter in their area has benefited greatly.”
As the Anthonys come into 2019, they’ve got their sights trained on continued growth in both their personal and professional ventures. The pair will open their seventh Hand & Stone location in High Point as a result of a multi-unit partnership, and, thanks to a grant from The Cannon Foundation, they will also remodel and update their Boys & Girls Club Teen Center.
“We’re constantly pushing ourselves to do more,” Christiana Anthony said.