With the acquisition of existing Hand & Stone locations in Middletown, Brick, Spring and West Long Branch, Multi-Unit Franchise Owner and Regional Developer for Ohio, Nicolas Marco now owns nine spas, fueling his lifelong passion for health and wellness.
Nicholas Marco, a multi-unit franchise owner and regional developer for Ohio with Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, has acquired four New Jersey locations, expanding his five spa portfolio to a total of nine. Marco, who lives in Asbury Park and is also the son of brand founder John Marco, bought the existing locations from family friends Paul and Maria Cermatori, Hand & Stone’s first franchisees, and Candy and Kevin Ruddy, also one of the brand’s original franchisees.
Marco's journey with Hand & Stone began when he was a child. His dad fully developed the spa brand — including a business plan and interest from outside investors — but could not decide on a name. John promised Nick and his sister a car if they could come up with the perfect name. When Nick suggested “Hand & Stone,” it stuck. Since its founding 17 years ago, the brand has grown to more than 500 units.
A nurse by trade, who still works in the ICU, Marco has been a part of the brand’s growth himself — he invested in his first spa in 2014 in Howell, NJ with his sister Tara Bogota and is
now taking over four existing New Jersey locations.
Not only is Hand & Stone a family affair for Marco, but the concept compliments his love of science, biology and the human body with two of his passions — helping others live a healthy life and entrepreneurship.
“I’ve always wanted to become more involved with the family business,” said Marco. “I have been a nurse for over eight years but decided to change that profession to very part-time to pursue Hand & Stone full-time. My passion for healthcare has helped me succeed not only as a Hand & Stone franchisee but as a regional developer as well. I can use that zeal to
support owners and managers in a business that I know well.”
For nearly 15 years, residents of Middletown, Brick, Spring and West Long Branch have enjoyed Hand & Stone’s affordable luxury spa services. These locations also support approximately 350 jobs while stimulating retail spending among consumers in each market.
Marco’s newly purchased Hand & Stone locations are a part of the franchise’s rapidly expanding footprint throughout New Jersey, where the brand has already established 60-plus thriving spas and counting. The brand is also looking to continue expanding in the state.
“We’re thrilled to support our franchisees who are eager to take over existing spas,” said Nicole Alburger, senior director of franchise development for Hand & Stone. “To us, this demand and loyalty amongst our network validate the business ownership opportunity as franchisees want to be multi-unit owners and build on their portfolios.”
By offering membership options and providing high-end massages at a vastly reduced price point compared to traditional, high-end spas, Hand & Stone has brought luxury spa services into the mainstream, making it a strong business ownership opportunity not just in the health and wellness space, but in franchising.