Each day Melissa and Brian Long go to work, they provide their customers with a full-service pampering and relaxation experience. As owners of Wake Foot Sanctuary, the wildly successful and unique foot soaking spa in Asheville, North Carolina, and the first of its kind to franchise, the married couple enjoys giving guests the ultimate opportunity to clear their minds and bodies from the daily stress.
In addition to creating a fun, relaxing environment, the Longs are also capitalizing on a rapidly growing field with high consumer demand. According to the International Spa Association, the spa services industry in the United States includes about 21,000 facilities with a combined annual revenue of $16.3 billion. The spa industry registers 155.8 million visits every year with a steady triple figure annual growth predicted within the next 10 years.
Wake Foot Sanctuary has experienced a 50 percent year-over-year growth and an industry leading sales-per-square-foot performance since opening its first and only location in 2013. After seeing such a tremendous customer following, along with nearly $600,000 in annual sales at the Asheville spa, the owners are now looking to expand its successful brand by offering franchise opportunities for the first time.
“Business has been growing in double digits since we opened four years ago,” said Melissa Long. “We felt like now was a really great time to take the next step for franchising. We get guests in from all over the world, and they ask our therapists, ‘When are you coming to my city?’. We’ve proven the model and now we want others to experience the creativity and the freedom that Wake can bring to them. I see Wake fitting into a lot of towns and cities around the country. It is something you can plug-and-play anywhere.”
The concept of a spa service at Wake Foot Sanctuary is simple, yet intensely focused on providing customers a feeling of care and attention every step of the way. Guests start off being treated with a luxurious, warm foot soak in an oversized copper, hand-hammered bowl while a heated lavender wrap is placed around their neck. Each session is a 45-minute indulgence that includes a warm up and powdering and drying of the feet. The soaks are created using a complete selection of apothecary products, soaps, pure oils and salts.
The treatment also includes the option of a simultaneous massage of the feet and lower legs, hand and lower arm, or head, neck and shoulders in 20 or 40-minute increments from licensed therapists. The sessions take place in a communal space complete with peaceful music and relaxing aromas, while each guest can enjoy tea and various refreshments. The spa also sells popular items such as artisan crafted jewelry, natural hand-poured candles, handmade lavender and flaxseed neck wraps, and sensuous body care products.
A foot soak has a number of physical benefits such as soothing muscles, hydrating and moisturizing skin and reducing swelling. Combining a soak along with a signature massage can help improve posture, circulation and flexibility, strengthen the immune system and offer relief from pain and headaches. Perhaps most importantly, the sessions provide an essential mental break by relieving stress and encouraging relaxation.
“Wake attracts all different types of people,” said Long. “Busy people who want a little respite from their day, tourists who have been shopping around, locals who want to come in and enjoy some soothing time and relaxation with friends or by themselves. We treat each guest that comes in like a treasured family member, and feel like it really shows in the end product.”
The astonishing success of Wake Foot Sanctuary can partly be attributed to growing consumer demand for a“stress-free” environment, a place where people can escape the frantic, daily grind. Wake hosts an expansive array of customers coming for social events such as girls’ night out, to gift packages for family pampering, to a romantic couples’ experience.
Melissa Long realized first-hand the need to unwind from the grind when she held a big corporate job. Years ago, she was a sales and marketing executive on the fast track with a large consumer products company. She became burned out on the travel, pressure and demands of the job. At that point, she knew she needed a change in her life, personally and professionally.
Melissa’s husband, Brian, came from a family of serial entrepreneurs and worked as a custom home builder in Maine. Despite starting from scratch and with no prior background in spa services, the Longs decided to move to Asheville and open Wake Foot Sanctuary in a downtown shopping district. The couple named the establishment after their late, beloved dog “Wake”, who treated all people he met with kindness and warmth.
Melissa and Brian are motivated by serving others who also desire that much-needed calm and tranquil environment away from their busy lives. Wake Foot Sanctuary has become an immediate hit in Asheville, driven by interested first-time visitors and a loyal, passionate base of returning customers. The Longs want others to share in their success and began franchising in 2017 to expand their national footprint.
“We believe this is wonderful opportunity for energized people who want to bring our unique concept to their cities and watch their business grow beyond their wildest dreams,” said Melissa Long. “We are looking for owners who want to be hands-on to get the spa up and running and watch the amazing results you achieve when you deliver an atmosphere of personalized attention and care.”
Much like the Longs, franchise prospects do not need a massage or spa management background to be successful. The corporate team will provide ongoing training and support with the goal that each individual franchise location will mirror the success achieved by the first spa in Asheville.
If you’re interested in owning your very own Wake Foot Sanctuary franchise, please visit http://wakespa.com/franchise/
Wake Foot Sanctuary
1 Page Avenue, Suite #115
Phone: 828 575 9799