WEST WINDSOR, N.J. — A sign from a window in a power strip shopping center here announces the arrival of Massage Envy. The fast-growing franchise company of massages for the masses joins a Starbucks, a Verizon store, Five Below and ShopRite as some of the major traffic draws in the center.

What more could a busy woman want than a quick massage, followed by Starbucks and grocery shopping for the family?

Massage Envy might be a relatively new name in shopping centers, but according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Massage Envy has been named one of the hottest retailers in America.

There are now 114 Massage Envy locations pumping out sales exceeding $9 million, primarily in open-air shopping centers near supermarkets. The chain is opening one to four locations per week, according to the company. The idea is to attract busy women who want a spa experience, but desire it at an affordable price and in a convenient locale. That’s just what founder and chief executive officer John Leonesio had in mind when he started the company in 2001.

“Massage is a 3,000-year-old business that has never been organized,” said Leonesio. “I know starting the Massage Envy concept now is the right program at the right time.”

Massage has truly hit the mass world, with estimates that it is almost an $11 billion industry, according to the American Massage Therapy Association. In the last year, 47 million American adults received a massage.

Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Massage Envy is making it easier for those stressed-out massage enthusiasts to get their fix, while also attracting new visitors. Customers join Massage Envy much like they join health clubs. There are currently more than 60,000 active members. Two-thousand registered therapists perform more than 100,000 massages per month. What’s inviting about Massage Envy is that walk-ins are welcome, meaning patrons can pop in on impulse or to soothe aching muscles. Hours of operation make it easy for busy customers, with most units being open until 10 p.m.

Massage options include everything from Swedish, Trigger Point, Sports, Deep Tissue, Orthopedic, Neuromuscular, Lymphatic, Drainage, Myofascial Release, Prenatal, Pregnancy and Petrissage massages. An introductory one-hour therapeutic massage session costs less than $40.

This story first appeared in the July 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Despite the value pricing, the ambience is upscale at Massage Envy, with well-appointed waiting areas and massage rooms. There is a retail aspect to Massage Envy, too. Some of the clinics offer candles, massage oils and robes.

Retailers that want to build sales of at-home spa products might want to consider locating next to services such as Massage Envy. Customers who frequent these value massage spots may want to supplement with home products, too.


Antonio Banderas was in New York City on June 28 with wife Melanie Griffith to officially launch his newest scent, Antonio, Antonio Banderas. Banderas was wearing another fragrance popular in Spain that could be on Puig’s list to import to America. Puig is on a roll with Banderas, with the first two scents winning FiFi’s. Antonio, Antonio Banderas is said to reflect the “natural seduction” of its namesake. The new fragrance launch follows on the success of Spirit Antonio Banderas and Spirit for Women. It is the first of the line sold in America to feature Banderas’ image.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus