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How the New Partnership Between Hand & Stone in the U.S. and Canada Benefits Franchisees

Hand & Stone U.S. recently purchased Hand & Stone Canada in order to help grow the brand across both countries and achieve its goal of 500 units by the end of 2021.

With a footprint of over 450 locations, including 30-plus in Canada, Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, the affordable luxury massage and facial spa franchise, offers franchisees a proven business model, industry-leading support infrastructure and access to multiple revenue streams. With the purchase of Hand & Stone Canada, the Hand & Stone team have created a streamlined approach to franchise growth throughout all of North America. 

According to Gigi Harding, President of Hand & Stone Canada, one of the biggest reasons they sold to the U.S. is because both teams were making similar investments. “It makes sense for us to work together as a single unit instead of wasting resources solving problems in two different places with two different budgets,” she said. “Whether it be creating a franchisee support infrastructure, implementing innovative technology or developing new revenue streams, our brand is set to be stronger than ever.”

Since its founding in 2004, Hand & Stone has brought luxury spa services to the masses and made a name for itself by offering a membership-based business model that features three distinct revenue streams for franchisees. In addition to offering several massage modalities seven days per week, Hand & Stone provides twelve different types of facials and retail skincare products as well as hair removal services

Since coming to Canada in 2009, Hand & Stone has helped shape the country’s massage services market. “For so long, the only places people could get a decent massage was at high-end luxury spas—which were, for many people, cost-prohibitive—or in a chiropractic or physiotherapy clinic setting,” said Harding. “Not only did that limit consumers, it meant that so many talented massage therapists were frustrated with a lack of ability to be completely booked. There were few examples of membership-based services in the massage therapy industry and none in the facial sector, and we have since pioneered that model.”

Hand & Stone is ready to expand throughout Canada. While 2019 was a massive year for growth, the brand's leadership sees huge potential for 2020 and beyond. The Hand & Stone Canada development team is targeting expansion in Vancouver, Coquitlam, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.

“Three years ago, we expanded into Saskatoon, which was the very first time we stepped out of the Ontario territory,” said Harding. “Every market is slightly different when it comes to regulations for massage therapists and estheticians, employment rates and the real estate market, and we make sure to do our research to ensure that we can successfully launch in each area.” 

In addition to an aggressive growth strategy, several aspects of the partnership will allow the brand to thrive in the Canadian market, including a strong and supportive corporate team and an in-depth training program. The U.S. Hand & Stone leadership team features a combined 250 years of experience in the franchising business and includes industry veterans CEO Todd Leff, Chief Marketing Officer Jack Bachinsky, Vice President of Real Estate Development Kris Smith and Director of Franchise Development Nicole Alburger.

“Through this strategic partnership, Hand & Stone will be able to offer stronger local and international franchisee support,” said Harding. “Our training and support infrastructure includes expert team members who are available to help in all aspects of business, whether it be site selection and lease negotiation, ongoing operations, on-site training or recruitment, hiring and training. Plus, the franchise brand’s in-house marketing agency, HSM, was established to ensure spa owners success is a top priority.”

Hand & Stone also awards accreditation so that the company can provide credit hours to its estheticians and massage therapists, with a robust training regimen for their core employees. This built-in education system is unique in the massage and facial segment and lends a large amount of credibility to the franchise partners.

“If franchisees are running a quality operation, Hand & Stone has the tools in place to monitor everything so owners don’t need a daily presence,” said Harding. “For example, we have the system to provide weekly KPIs, analytics, customer surveys and more. That way, franchisees can use the information to update their business and implement best practices by working with their managers.” 

With this strategic partnership and lucrative business model, Hand & Stone is creating an even stronger opportunity for entrepreneurs who are tired of the corporate lifestyle and are eager for an opportunity to spend more time with their families. 

“We are excited to combine forces and use our collective experience to grow across both the U.S. and Canada,” said Alburger. “This streamlined approach will be a major factor in helping the brand reach our 500-unit milestone by the end of 2021.” 

Hand & Stone is always looking for new franchisees to help grow its footprint. Start-up costs to open a Hand & Stone franchise in Canada range from CA$485,730 to CA$701,780 with a franchise fee of CA$45,000. To receive a breakdown of fees, estimated initial investment costs, contracts, corporate financial statements and other valuable information included in the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), visit