Rene Tirado and Jim Weaver know a few things about retail and franchising. They went into business together in 2001, opening Plato's Closet in Carrollwood, and have since opened four more of the consignment stores in Tampa, Brandon, Lakeland and Wesley Chapel.
But their latest franchising venture can be attributed to Jim's wife, Connie, who bought Jim a gift certificate to the Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa. The present, a three-hour massage, went unused for a year and a half. Then, after Connie threatened to regift it, Jim grudgingly redeemed it.
"He was blown away by the whole process," Tirado said.
Within hours, the business partners had researched the company and were on a flight to Hand & Stone's corporate office in New Jersey. They were sold on massages and opened a new location last month at 11009 Causeway Blvd. They also bought the existing Hand & Stone location in Palm Harbor.
"When we went up there, we were looking for why not to do it," Tirado said of the trip to Hamilton, N.J. "We felt great about it."
Hand & Stone specializes in massages with smooth river stones that are heated to 120 degrees. But unlike other spas that simply place the hot stones on your back, the Hand & Stone massage therapists implement them as part of the massage process.
A one-hour hot stone massage costs $59.95 for new clients. Other introductory offers include a one-hour massage for $39.95 or facial from an esthetician for $49.95. Or you may choose to become a member and for $49.95 a month, you can enjoy any massage or facial once every 30 days at any of the more than 140 locations nationwide.
The 2,200-square-foot spa has eight rooms for massages and facials, including couples rooms. The Brandon location is the 14th in Florida and is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Call (813) 409-3848 for an appointment or visit handandstone.com.
Hair of a different kind offered by Bundle Bar
For a different twist on hair extensions, check out the Bundle Bar virgin hair boutique at 747 W Lumsden Road near O'Brien's Irish Pub.
The store had its grand opening in August and specializes in virgin Indian hair. In order for hair to be considered virgin, it must be 100 percent human hair, cut off the donor in one ponytail, never colored or treated and have all the cuticle layers intact and facing the same direction.
The Bundle Bar provides extensions for sewing or weaving in and they can be dyed a custom color for free.
The store never mixes bundles with any other synthetic fibers or chemically altered hair. The virgin hair ranges from straight to wavy and is expected to tangle less than synthetics or blends and last at least a year.
An extension of 14 inches costs $70 and prices range up to $150 for 30 inches. The Bundle Bar also is hiring stylists to help with the new dos.
The store is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Visit thebundlebar.com.
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