The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and the flooding rains that came afterward in the Houston area has been heartbreaking – Families displaced, losing everything but the clothes on their backs, thousands of businesses closed for weeks (and some remaining closed for the foreseeable future), and hundreds of thousands left without income during the height of the flooding and beyond.
Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, the nation’s fastest growing massage and skin care franchise, with over 300-plus units nationwide, had eight spas in the Houston area that were not spared. Several sustained heavy water damage and all had to close for well over a week. Despite this hardship, the franchise owners in the area didn’t ask for help for themselves or their spas. They asked for their employees.
According to Rafa Marquez, local owner of the Houston San Felipe and Sugarland spas, “We, the Houston owners, are doing as much as we can, despite suffering a financial impact, but our team members need this the most. People that live paycheck to paycheck got hit the worst. So missing a week of pay makes a huge impact for them and I can’t even imagine the ones who’ve lost their homes and cars.”
Immediately upon hearing about the devastation, Hand & Stone stepped up and created a Go Fund Me page for the franchisees’ employees impacted by the storm. “The entire team met even while the storms were still hitting the area and agreed we had to do something. We knew our entire Hand & Stone family embraces a culture of giving and kindness so we were confident they would respond if we could set something up for them to help,” said President and CEO, Todd Leff.
Mr. Leff donated the initial $5,000 to the page from Hand & Stone Corporate Headquarters and requested that the extended Hand & Stone family match this initial contribution.
The Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund for Hand & Stone Employees received an immediate, outpouring of response from Hand & Stone franchise owners, employees, corporate staff, friends, partners, and family across the country. Within the first few hours, the donations surpassed the initial goal of $10,000. Within a day the goal was increased to $20,000 and that goal was reached hours later. $34,000+ was collected for the employees of the Hand & Stone Houston spas.
“As an employee at Hand & Stone of The Woodlands, I am blown away by this. Our wonderful owners have been checking in on each of us -- Together the employees are making sure we all have dry and safe places to stay. This makes me feel so incredibly blessed to be a [massage] therapist and part of the team at Hand and Stone,” Rachel Herrera added on the Go Fund Me page.
Other franchisees in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin areas offered to bring on Houston-area staff and cover hotel accommodations to provide an opportunity for them to make some income during the storm and its aftermath.
“Wow! I cannot think of any other word to say that expresses our reaction to the outpouring of support we have received from the Hand & Stone family in response to our relief fund for the Houston area Hand & Stone team. Thank you to everyone who has shared, donated, and opened up their hearts to help those from our Hand & Stone family impacted by this catastrophic storm,” said Vice President of Marketing, Jack Bachinsky.
The funds raised will be enough to reimburse each franchisee employee up to $300 for lost wages or living expenses. Most important, the funds have already been delivered and can help when needed most.
At the time of this writing, Hurricane Irma was headiing for Florida and our Hand & Stone Family are in our thoughts and prayers.
*Introductory Offers valid for first visits. Not valid for gift cards. Services include 50 minute hands-on service and time allotted for dressing and consultation. Prices and services are subject to change and may vary by location. Offers may not be combined. Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spas are independently owned and operated franchise locations.