Kris Smith's Hand & Stone Story - December Employee Spotlight

My career with Hand & Stone started in early 2012 when I was hired as Director of Real Estate and Construction. At the time we had roughly 50 open spas and another 70 in development. I had been in franchising for over 20 years at that point, almost exclusively in the restaurant industry, so transitioning over to the health and beauty world was a welcomed change. From the moment I started, I knew this company was primed for greatness. With founder John Marco, then-President and CEO Todd Leff, and Bob McQuillan as Vice President of Development at the helm, they were building a team and system that was already stronger and more talented than any other executive team I had worked with previously. The Hand & Stone business model was established, all we needed to do was continue partnering with the best franchisees, identify the best trade areas and locations to develop, and provide the highest level of support in the industry. Fast forward almost ten years later, and we now have over 520 locations throughout the US and Canada. It’s been an amazing ride, and it’s far from over!

In 2015 I was promoted to Vice President of Real Estate Development. My team was expanding, and we were opening 50-60 new spas a year. The primary responsibility of my team is to provide white-glove support to our franchisees from signing of the Franchise Agreement through the opening of their spa. That support starts with identifying top-tier real estate opportunities within their trade area, assisting through the negotiations of the Letter of Intent and Lease, as well as the architectural design and construction support. I often mention to Franchise prospects that H&S is not a passive Franchisor. We have tremendous pride in what we’ve built here and want to ensure our business model is followed and our Franchisees put in the best possible position to succeed.

There isn’t a day in the last 10 years I didn’t look forward to coming to work. We are in the business of helping Franchisees, often first-time business owners, reach their dream of starting a new business. This is extremely gratifying and every day brings a new set of challenges and opportunities. I’ve been asked, “what do you enjoy most about your role with H&S”. There are many things I love about this company and my role here, but what I enjoy the most, is having a Franchise owner come up to me at a regional or our national convention and thanking me for the support we provided them in opening their spa. This would not be possible without the dedicated team I have working with me, and the entire Hand & Stone team. The passion and dedication we have is infectious and our Franchisees feed off that and provide that level of enthusiasm to their teams, and most importantly, their customers.

The future is bright and full of opportunities for Hand & Stone. I’m looking forward to the next 10 years of growth and success for the organization and our Franchisee owners.