Darren Groteboer walked into a Massage Envy spa for a relaxing treatment and walked out with another franchise to add to his diverse investment portfolio.
The 48-year-old franchisee said he and his partner were so impressed with the Massage Envy concept when they visited a clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., six years ago that they began immediately to inquire about franchise opportunities. Coincidentally, they happened to be near the Massage Envy headquarters in Scottsdale and met with the corporate heads of the company to begin exploring those opportunities.
“It’s a great franchise,” Groteboer says of Massage Envy. “It’s a great group of people and a great concept, unusual from other massage businesses. Membership-driven is just a terrific model and it works very well if you put your blinders on and do what they tell you to do.”
Following the franchise plan as it’s presented by the company is the best piece of advice that Groteboer has for any franchisee, especially those who are investing in a system for the first time.
“If you’re going to spend the time and money to buy a franchise, the first thing you’ve got to tell yourself — and then hold to it — is to follow the franchise model as it is. Experienced franchisors know what they’re doing and they do it for a reason. When I see people fail in business that’s a franchise, it’s because they thought they were smarter than the franchise and wanted to do something different.”
Massage Envy Part of Diverse Portfolio
Groteboer knows of what he speaks. He’s been an entrepreneur right out of high school. He started his career in real estate and construction and became the owner of his first franchise, a Carpet One Floor & Home store, in the late 1990s. Since then, he has become the owner of a Cinnabon, an Auntie Anne’s pretzel store, and he’s scouting locations for his fourth Massage Envy clinic. In addition, he has an interest in a bar and nightclub.
Groteboer says he and his partner are always looking for business opportunities, but when they booked a massage at a Massage Envy clinic, they were interested in a relaxing treatment, not a business opportunity.
“We were looking at other franchises, but this one shocked us,” he said. “We had no thoughts at all of being in the massage business.”
Fast forward six years and Groteboer has three Massage Envy clinics in Rochester and Rogers, Minn., and Sioux Falls, S.D. His fourth clinic will also be in Sioux Falls.
Born and raised in Rochester, Groteboer said he had a location picked out in the city, which the corporate offices approved. With a background in construction, he oversaw the build-out of the clinic, which saved him money on hiring a contractor. However, he advises new franchisees, especially those in larger markets, to find a contractor who has worked before on a Massage Envy project in order to save time and money. The clinics are built especially to sound-proofing specifications that a contractor experienced with Massage Envy will have already mastered.
“If you’re in a large market, the one builder probably has it down to a science,” he said. “Once a general contractor does a handful of them, then they can just fly through them because they know all the tricks. I would suggest you find a contractor who has done a build-out before.”
Plus, the contractor will be aware of other requirements such as paint colors that are prescribed by Massage Envy, he said.