New spa owner applies lessons learned in school of hard rocks
Massage franchise hopes to fill ‘knead’ for low-cost spa services in NOVA
ByGregg MacDonald Staff Writer
Tin Nguyen/Fairfax County Times
Hand & Stone spa owner Darielle Danver and employee Gayatai Sharma show off the franchise’s signature massage service that involves warm river stones.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, 35 million adults in the U.S. got a massage last year, grossing $10 billion for the massage industry in 2013.
Darielle Danver, 25, of Fairfax is hoping to get a piece of those revenues with the opening of her new Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa location in Chantilly’s Greenbriar Mall.
Hand & Stone is a 180-plus-unit massage and facial spa chain that was launched in 2004. It currently has locations in 21 states and Canada.
“True to our name, our signature service is a hot stone massage with a smooth river stone heated to 120 degrees,” she said. “Unlike some other stone massage services where they place warm stones on someone and just leave them there, our therapists keep the stone in their hand during the service, hence our name: Hand & Stone.”
Danver says walk-in customers are always treated to an introductory one-hour massage at $49.95, but many opt for a
$59.95 monthly membership, which considerably brings down the cost of all Hand & Stone services — ranging from classic facials, hair removal and the H&S signature hot stone massage. Monthly memberships have no yearly contract, Danver said. The monthly rate entitles customers to either a massage or a facial, and then gives them the option to purchase additional services and products at discounted prices.
Danver says Hand & Stone is about more than just massage, and is a full service day spa that also provides facials and waxing services. “We have much more of a spa feel than discount massage places,” she said. “Our atmosphere is not clinical, and our staff is very professional and well-kept. We have much more of a spa feel.”
Co-manager Kristina Lovelace, 29, agrees.
“We believe in a 5-star spa experience,” she said. “We offer a $49.95 rate, but that doesn’t equate to a $49.95 experience.”
Danver, who worked for years in the restaurant industry, said she originally discovered Hand & Stone in her native New Jersey after receiving a gift card. “I wasn’t really a ‘massage person’ but I used it, and I was really impressed with the atmosphere and the value,” she said.
Danvers began working in the Hand & Stone location in Cherry Hill, N.J. — an area where her father, Eric, owns several Papa John’s franchise locations. “I started working the front desk at Hand & Stone and eventually worked up to management,” she said. Her father said he soon took notice of her passion and success.
“When I saw how much Darielle was enjoying working there and how successful and adept she was at managing the store, we began discussing purchasing a franchise,” said Eric Danver.
The Danvers then spent 18 months researching the company, franchise opportunities and potential locations.
“We eventually decided to come to Northern Virginia,” Eric Danvers said. It is a fairly untapped area with a lot of potential.” The Danvers said they plan to eventually open several more locations in Northern Virginia.
Darielle soon moved to Fairfax, bringing Lovelace, her co-worker, with her.
“I love it here,” said Lovelace. “I am originally from Virginia, so this is like a homecoming for me.”
The Chantilly Hand & Stone location opened Oct. 12 in Greenbriar Mall and Eric Danvers says a Reston Town Center location will soon follow in January. “I will become manager of that location when it opens,” said Lovelace.
*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.