Do you know anyone who doesn’t daydream about escaping to the beach to relax and recharge his or her batteries?
The reasons are simple: our lives are complex, fast paced and full of stress. We all want to escape to an ultra-relaxing place to center ourselves and slow our lives down. When we can escape and replenish our energy, we are more patient, produce better work and live happier, healthier lives. When we escape, we are far away from the forces that create stress in our daily lives; we might as well be on another planet.
Health club and gym owner, Stephen Smith, was looking for a way to diversify his business and decided to add a tanning salon to his portfolio. In 1995, he found a location that was built out to be a tanning salon but never opened in uptown New Orleans. He named it Electric Beach with a plan to franchise eventually. This was a natural tie-in with his gym business. He had been in the health club industry for many years and understood the value of helping people live healthy lives and feeling better about themselves.
April 1, 1996, Smith then decided to franchise his tanning business. A name change was in order; however, since funds were tight, he recognized the opportunity to keep some of the existing signage. The decision came down to either keeping “Electric” or “Beach”…beach stayed, electric was replaced with Panet and the first Planet Beach franchise was born. Smith felt that this name represented a place that people would desire to escape to and have an “otherworldly” and relaxing experience.
The Planet Beach franchise system grew to several hundred locations and Canada. As the company grew, the headquarters remained in New Orleans and the very first location in uptown New Orleans is still gong strong with a very loyal membership base.
In 2005, our first automated spa services were added and included massage, facial and hydration services that would compliment the existing tanning services and the spa/tanning tag was added. In 2008, Smith had a self-described “ah-ha moment” and was inspired to create a new spa industry featuring fully automated services. Why not expand Planet Beach into a full service automated spa and make it affordable to the masses?
Smith’s idea tapped into a real need in the marketplace. “I saw that we could provide the same results of as a traditional spa in less time and a whole lot less money,” Smith says. “Our industry was changing, demand for tanning was diminishing and demand for spa services was increasing. It became very clear to me that we needed to reposition our brand to become a more successful franchise. We broke into an untapped niche with the Planet Beach Contempo Spa concept, which is now known as Planet Beach Automated Spa.”
The franchise is now positioned to turn the spa industry on its ear by making spa services, traditionally considered luxury purchases, available at extremely affordable prices to masses. “Until Planet Beach came along there were only day spas for the affluent,” said Smith. “Now we have a spa that most people can utilize. By offering a membership that will cost them $79 to $99 per month, members can receive the same amenities one gets at an elite spa for a fraction of the cost and time. We believe we have created the future of the spa industry.”
Today, there are over 250 franchise units in 33 states and 9 foreign countries.