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Posted by John

Patten (Editor), June 29, 2013 at

09:28 am



Archna and Harin Patel stand in their new Hand & Stone Spa, ready to open up for business. Credit: Dan Gunderman

By Dan Gunderman


The world of the 21st century is a far cry from the one that existed just a few years ago. The elderly population is rapidly increasing, and most people are spending a majority of their precious “digital

age” time working. Stress levels are rising and wellness is sparingly thought of. So what is one

"procedure" nearly everyone can use? A massage.


Bridgewater residents Archna and Harin Patel believe that's the case and are opening up a new Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa Sunday, in the Hillsborough Centre shopping center.


This Hand & Stone will be the 13th in New Jersey, and about the 100th overall. Employing over 1,500 people statewide, the franchise expects to add an additional 105 employees to their payroll this coming year.


Bringing massage and facial services to the masses, Hand & Stone was launched in 2005 by physical therapist, John Marco, and it has since been taken over by “franchise veteran” Todd Leff, according to a memo provided to Patch.


“These franchises are quickly opening along the east coast,” said Patrick Laughlin, brand communicator for No Limit Agency, working with the Patels. “I think that a lot of people are going to these spas more for just relaxing, especially now that the economy is better.”


The Patels, who met while studying at Rutgers University, are opening up this franchise location after doing previous research on their own potential business endeavors.


“We always knew we wanted to do something like this,” said Harin. “We have a strong belief in health and wellness, and Archna has a real passion for the therapeutic side of business."


With owning a franchise, the Patels believe that the strength behind the brand will be powerful in bringing in new customers. As a membership-based operation, they are hoping to spread the word to nearby establishments, such as Retro Fitness next door, massage schools and health fairs.


“We’re hoping people look at these services and say, ‘I don’t need a lot of dollars to go here,’” said Archna. “We think they’ll be able to afford (coming here) and continue to afford it…It’s allowing luxury to be brought to the mainstream.”


A facet of the business that the Patels are very passionate about, is providing wellness services to an aging population. According to the 2010 census, New Jersey has 1.6-million individuals age 60 and older—a number that has increased 15 percent since 2000. That number is also anticipated to rise sharply.


So, they are aiming to apply their passion to this growing number of people who are seeking therapeutic treatment.


Harin, 35, formally of Trinidad, met Archna, also 35, of Zambia, Africa, while studying at Rutgers University. Married in 2005, the couple went on to each work at reputable companies; Harin at NRG Energy, where he was apart of the team that worked on solar panels at MetLife Stadium; and Archna at a prestigious pharmaceutical company.


With a three-year-old son at home, the couple hopes to successfully transition into business ownership. They also plan on "manning the ship" on evenings and weekends, when the full-time manager may be off the premise.


Upon opening, the staff will comprise of about 15 people (including front-desk “spa associates,” massage therapists and the manager). As the business grows, they hope to beef up that number to about 30 or 35 in the coming year.


Another portion of the Patels’ business plan includes a strong entrepreneurial sense for the future…


“We hope to open up our second franchise—if we get into a groove and find our strength,” said Archna. “We want to learn the business a bit better and wait a year or two before we venture into another (Hand & Stone).”


The spa will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9

a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

stoneyHeader.png*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.

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