Owner of Beaverton & Lake Oswego Stretch Lab Adam Havens
Owner of Beaverton & Lake Oswego Stretch Lab Adam Havens
Gabriel Flores 0:01
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I have the owner of stretch lab. Adam, what's going on, buddy?
Adam Haves 0:11
How you doing this morning?
Gabriel Flores 0:12
Man? I'm excited because I need to get stretched out. I mean, I'm tight.
Adam Haves 0:16
So we are here for you.
Gabriel Flores 0:18
Yes. So let's let's talk about this. So first let's, let's introduce yourself, give us a little bio. Let's kind of introduce the world to Adam.
Adam Haves 0:23
Okay. Well, my name is Adam havens i I'm the owner of stretch lab studios in both Beaverton and in Lake Oswego. And I have the plans to open to more locations, probably sometime in 2022, on the west side of Portland, and I grew up here in Lake Oswego. And so I'm I'm Oregonian, when left for a few years, went to College up in Seattle, and University of Washington. And I've been back in Portland since 1990, in 1999. And I spent most of my career working for our family business, which was a company called rotta. Paint company, we were a painting a manufacturing company. And we actually sold that quite a few years ago. And, and so I left that industry just a few years back and sold some computer servers for a little while and realized that wasn't my cup of tea. And so I wanted to find a path for me to move into self employment and to be a business, a business owner. And that's what eventually led me to stretch lab and stretch Lab is a one on one assistance stretching studio. So you come in, he lay down on a pad of stretching table, and one of our flex ologists stretches you out for either 25 or 50 minute sessions. And so we can assist with your flexibility, your mobility and your range of motion.
Gabriel Flores 1:48
So what took you up to Seattle?
Adam Haves 1:51
College, I wanted to be I was accepted into the University of Washington. And once I got that acceptance letter I, I packed my bags, and I ended up north, what do you study
Gabriel Flores 2:01
up their business? Nice, nice. So did you come back to work for the family business? Yes. So how did how did that kind of transition from you know, college going to this family business? Were you kind of focusing on the family business when you went to college? Or would you decide I want to do business?
Adam Haves 2:16
i At that time, I did not have the intention on working for the family business. It just ended up working out that way. So what
Gabriel Flores 2:23
did you learn from that that kind of helped you with stretch lab.
Adam Haves 2:29
I guess it developed my entre entrepreneurial spirit to a point and and it just it made me want to be a self sufficient small business owner. Nice. So I'll give you the motivation for that. But I think it was more things in my personal life that that led me to stretch lab more than my, my experience with my family business.
Gabriel Flores 2:51
And what was those?
Adam Haves 2:54
Back in the mid 2000s I was I wasn't making the best life choices. I was there were some stressful things going on in my life both personally and professionally. And, and I was about 50 pounds heavier than I am now. And I went out and bought a pair of running shoes and started to run in and then I ran hood to coast that summer. Wow. ran my first marathon the following year, and I've know I'm in now up to number 15 Wow. And so I I've always appreciated and knew what stretching can do for you from both a recovery and a performance standpoint. You know, I spent a lot spent a lot of quality time with my foam roller running all those marathons. And when I heard of one on one assistance stretching concept, I really piqued my interest. And so I started doing a lot of research of companies all over the country that were offering this kind of service there was both independent companies as well as franchisors they were offering these kinds of studios and I did a lot of research and ended up flying down to Irvine California and meeting with the stretch lab brass and I love their support staff and their business plan and so I signed a franchise agreement with them to nice four locations here to the Portland area. So
Gabriel Flores 4:15
you kind of the problem you kind of went out and solved was kind of the problem of the soreness after running. Yeah, seems like exactly. And so what what can a client you know, expect when that you kind of were discussing it you know, broadly about what stretch Labs is but let's get a little bit more in detail what what is exact like a client goes in there what can they expect?
Adam Haves 4:33
They can expect to be asked a lot of questions about their health history and and what they intend to achieve by coming to stretch lab. And so our biggest challenge is finding their why every every client that we have is there for a different reason. That's part of the reason why I actually got into stretch lab because I looked at other boutique fitness franchises and some of their marketing was so narrowly defined by age group and gender, I want something with a much broader appeal. And I found that with stretch lab, just because I can look at our existing membership base. And we have members from 12 years old all the way up to 85 years old, no size and shape a person in between. And so everybody that comes in the door, we asked him, Have you ever had an assistant stretch before? What are your What are your? What past injuries or surgeries have you had? What do you do for physical fitness and or activity? And what are your least flexible areas, and then also what, what their goals are by coming in to our studio. And then after we get them on the table, we go through a full 50 minute session with them. And then our certified flex ologists will make a membership package recommendation to them at the end of the session. And whether their purchase, let's say the prospect comes in saying they want to run a half marathon in 60 days, we'll say okay, well, that's a pretty aggressive plan. I would recommend probably two visits a week with us. Gotcha. To get you into that goal. Gotcha. Other people, you know, we can just see once a week, and we can get everything done that they need to achieve their health and wellness goals. Yeah.
Gabriel Flores 6:12
You know, one of the things you mentioned, you went down to, you know, California, Irvine, and you met with the team and you decided to go the franchise route. Why? Why did you go the franchise route just because they've kind of already established brand kind of thing. And you're very mentioned the business model. Let's let's kind of talk about that, though the franchise piece of it? How did why did you go that way, that route,
Adam Haves 6:30
I looked at the alternative, which is creating my own concept. And I would have to you know, do all the branding, come up with all the marketing materials, the you know, the business plan itself, I would have to part I would have had to partner with a medical professional to put together the entire stretcher routines that we do our entire training program. And I looked at that as being about a three year process. And so I looked at this and and our parent company is a company called exponential fitness and they actually own nine different boutique fitness franchise concepts and so that they already had plenty of experience, putting together the business plan as the promotional and marketing aspects of it. And so everything was kind of served to you on a platter right then in there. And so I looked at, you know, other franchise ors in the East Coast and the south and, and I decided far and away that stretch lab was the one for me.
Gabriel Flores 7:30
Yeah, and I think that's an important thing for the listeners to know, you know, we have so many variations of businesses, right, LLC, S corp, C Corp, so on and so forth. But franchise is also another option. Right? And I think even myself, I seldom forget to think about that as an option for business right. Now. Is this your first company even? Yes, it absolutely is. And so when you're kind of what was what was kind of your, your thinking your thought process? When you're you mentioned you kind of did your research and stuff. What what were kind of back here was your risk corridor? Where are you kind of thinking about, like, you know, what, I need to be within this line for it to work.
Adam Haves 8:07
Well, I was just sold on the concept of it and and I ended up buying the rights to for franchises because because just because I believe so much in the concept. Yeah, and it's long term potential. Now, my intention is to get all four of these studios up and operational, and obviously cashflow positive, and then at some point, I'll look at selling them. And that's actually the reason why I said I've set up every studio that I've opened as a separate LLC, just so I can I can have that flexibility of of saying, Okay, if maybe Nike, executive that's a member of one of our studios, retires said, hey, you know, I'm looking for an investment opportunity. You know, every year I thought about selling your any of your stretch labs, well, then I can say yes, you know, how many you're interested in? If you're just interested in this one, then it's easy to do that sale when there it's a separate LLC. Yeah.
Gabriel Flores 9:01
And so why did you decide to go that route to create four different LLCs?
Adam Haves 9:06
Just so I wouldn't have to sell the intelligent blobbin all at once. If I wanted to sell to and keep to on, you know, in my back pocket for myself. I wanted that option. And so it was more for the long term flexibility. Gotcha.
Gabriel Flores 9:21
So I'm not I must admit, I'm not too familiar with the franchise model, you know, so can you kind of explain that a little bit and like, how does it work from a from a business perspective? You know, you go in, do you obviously have to have capital? Correct? How much capital is at 10% 20%? So that just the listeners, if they're interested in doing the franchise model, what are some of the things they should expect?
Adam Haves 9:43
Well, there's the there's the franchise fee, and that's based on on the number of territory rights that you purchase. And so if you just buy the rights to one territory, I believe currently it's $60,000. franchise fee for that and then they give you a price break If you buy three or more, and then six or more, and the price goes up, say 15 Or, and then 25%, if you the more the more territories you buy,
Gabriel Flores 10:10
what has been so far the difficult piece about starting this business?
Adam Haves 10:15
Well, COVID probably was the biggest wrench thrown in with us. And it was, it was absolutely devastating to our business, because we're a service industry, we're in very close contact with people. You know, when we're stretching people, oftentimes our flex ologists is, you know, a foot away from our clients, and if not less, and they're, they're touching them and their hands are on them. And, and, and a lot of people the fear of COVID, just they, they didn't want to come back to the studio, right when we reopened last June. And so trying to get people members back in the studio was probably the most difficult thing that we dealt with in the last year. And so each of our studios lost about 50 to 55% of our membership base when we when we had to close due to COVID. And so we've just been clawing our way back. And we're finally to a point where both of my studios are cashflow positive without government assistance. And we're we're steadily seeing some steady growth of both of those studios now, which is finally, it took a long time to get to this point. And we had to be very patient and very diligent, and it was a lot of hard work a lot a lot of member customer outreach. And, and we're all of our marketing is all very, very grassroots pay base. So it's partnering with community partners, other fitness studios, local golf courses, retirement homes. You know, we've even had, you know, wineries have come out and they offer offer 15 minute demo stretches to you know, when when their members come and pick up their wine shipments. Yeah, that's such a great model. And so we we do what we call promotional pop ups, all over the place, you know, golf tournaments, things like that, and health fairs, farmers markets, things like that. And so we get out there and we'll take a big stretch lab tent and a couple of massage tables and two of our reflexologists. And we'll just go out and offer free 15 minute demo stretches. And so people can try it out and see what they think. And then we bring them in for an introductory stretch and, and see what we can do to improve their lives.
Gabriel Flores 12:27
That is as really cool. I really liked that model the you know, going out to the consumers and meeting them at various locations, as you mentioned, you know, the golf course of the wineries because that really kind of helps accentuate the brand and locations, that they may not have a physical space and you know, in those popup ideas is so so innovative. And one of the you know how, you know, one of the things you've kind of been discussing is how you built your brain? Did the franchise kind of give you guys some some help in building it? Or you mentioned so far the marketing is pretty been grassroot is it kind of on yourself to build the brand? Oh, here in Oregon, absolutely.
Adam Haves 13:01
They help provide a roadmap and a and a plan to go about and do that. So we actually, we have what we would call a presale phase. So before our studio even opened, when we were still working on building out our studios, we we actually had already had a full team of flex ologists already hired and we were out doing these community popups just to try to build up our membership base. So we had, you know, 100 120 members by the time we opened the studio, so we by the time we opened we already had a had a revenue stream. Gotcha. And then now we just continue to keep doing these promotional pop ups to keep new members and, and new blood coming into the studio.
Gabriel Flores 13:43
What what tactic like what marketing and branding tactic Have you felt has been the most successful
Adam Haves 13:50
I would say our promotional pop ups are huge for us. Our existing member referrals are huge for us. And then we actually do spend quite a bit of money on a monthly basis on digital advertising through Facebook, Instagram and Google and so all those leads you know if somebody will click on a Facebook ad and and it'll capture their mobile number, their email address and their name and it will just pop up in our studios email inbox. We just reached out to them at that point and we'll call them up and say hey, we'd love to get you in for a $49 introductory stretch and and see what see what we can do to help you
Gabriel Flores 14:27
yeah that folks at home $49 introductory stretch right there right little little plug now what what do you think it has was there like a like a moment in stretch lab where you felt like you know what this is gonna be successful or did you felt like it was during the pitch with the franchise team that you kind of felt you know what this is going to be successful business plan.
Adam Haves 14:48
Well, I was sold on it after I met with the brass that stretch lab and that's another thing that I actually really appreciated about being part of a franchise is all the other other franchise owners you can really pick a network of you As exactly we do, you know, stretch lab corporate does, you know, five or six monthly webinars, or conference calls where we share ideas and talk about, you know, sales up to that point in the month and goals for the remainder of the month and things like that. And we'll actually also do private conference calls with other stretch lab owners all across the country where we'll share best practices and you know, how to deal with the current job market situation, we're all having a hell of a time sourcing new employees. So that's not just a thing here in Oregon, it's every stretch lab owner and across the entire country is having a hard time with that. And so just finding new candidates has been very difficult for all of us.
Gabriel Flores 15:47
Is it? Is it some difficulty in regards to finding just bodies? Or do you have like a specific need to fill
Adam Haves 15:54
that we have a specific need to be so I mean, that's where that's what makes stretch lab successful is the education of our flex ologists. Yeah, they are certified flex ologists. They put in a ton of training. When we hire somebody, we take somebody with an instructional instructional background like yoga instructors, Pilates instructors, dads, dance instructors, we will we will interview massage therapists, chiropractic assistants, personal trainers, and mapped at least a couple of years of experience doing that. And then so they have to do basically a 20 hours of online training. That's basically the the theory behind everything that we do. And then they have to go through two full days of hands on training through our corporate office, where they learn all the technical aspects of our stretches. And then there, they have to do approximately 20 hours of practice sessions on existing clients or employees before they're allowed to start stretching our members in the studio. Oh, wow. And so yeah, our education department is absolutely wonderful a stretch lab, and it's very well put together training program and, and that they're, they're the magic behind stretch. Or flex. Oh, yeah,
Gabriel Flores 17:11
it sounds like it. So the flex ologists. Right, that's something you guys created, right?
Adam Haves 17:16
Yeah, that's a term we, we came up with, and we love the name. And it's cool. I like it. Yeah, all the employees love having that, that moniker on the back of their shirts. And,
Gabriel Flores 17:29
and so interesting enough, you know, you're mentioning the folks you kind of recruit are from various industries, right? The rehab industry, the massage therapists, industry chiropractor industry? How would you say, you know, the stretch left kind of differs from some of those industries? Or maybe similarities?
Adam Haves 17:43
Well, that's what's great is, when you have people with backgrounds, from all these different modalities, they bring different things to the table, right? And so they'll, they're great about sharing ideas, or they'll just say, Hey, I noticed how you were doing this stretch on Henry, on his back, left shoulder. You know, here, I think if we do a little bit of an alteration, you'll be able to get a more effective of a stretch, Oh, interesting. It'll be less. It'll be less stress on your body from a from a posture and positional standpoint. So we're constantly trying to make life easier on reflexologist. Because it's, it's a fairly strenuous job. So if we can alter some stretches and make it less work for them, then we're going to try to do that. And so it's great. Bringing all these different modalities together and letting them feed off each other.
Gabriel Flores 18:37
Yeah, that's, that's very interesting, because, you know, one of the things you mentioned is the network of franchisees that you have, but the now it's also a network of these flex ologists. Right. And they're kind of sharing their best practices, because this is pretty new and novel, right? How long has stretch lab been around?
Adam Haves 18:53
So for a stretch lab was founded back in 2015, by a personal trainer, and one of his clients, and he would always manually stretch out his client, the last five or 10 minutes of each personal training session. And he mentioned one day, he said, You know what, gosh, I actually, this is always my favorite part of the session. I wish I could just book a whole hour where you just stretch me out and they're like, Huh, you know, we're onto something here. So they actually opened up studios in Venice in Santa Monica, back in 2015. And then in 2018, our parent company purchased stretch lab, and decided to franchise it nationwide. And so in the fall of 2018, there, there were three stretch labs, franchises that opened in all of 2018. And as of last week, we've we now have 137 o stretch labs open nationwide. So our our growth has been absolutely exponential. Yeah, that that kind of pop pretty quick. Very much so
Gabriel Flores 19:56
and so you mentioned in regards to the region and territories from the franchise, do you You own Oregon?
Adam Haves 20:01
No, I just own basically just the west side of Portland. So territory rights to four locations and, and they, they base their territories, off populations, zip codes, things like that. And so there's, there's also another stretch lab owner here in Portland that has a couple studios in the downtown area. And then I have the rights to up to four locations here on the west side.
Gabriel Flores 20:22
Nice. Nice. So Where Where did all of this entrepreneurial spirit come from?
Adam Haves 20:30
Well, was stretch lab, it was something I wanted to find something that I can be passionate about. And with my experience with running marathons and things like that, and my my love of stretching and movement and taking care yourself and crud trying to create a better you the concept of stretch lab just, you know, wove very well with what I wanted to do. And so this was something I can be passionate about. And the fact that I can just stand there in my studio and see every member or client get up off the table with a big smile on their face, and race up to the counter to book their next appointment. That's the reward and so far there. And so, you know, and I get emails and letters from our members, saying how much they love stretch lab, and how much it's improved their lives. And you know, whether it's a golfer, that's, we've worked on their range of motion, and all of a sudden, their, you know, their handicaps gone down to a couple strokes,
Gabriel Flores 21:32
and they're going, oh, man, I definitely need to get a stretch. Yeah.
Adam Haves 21:35
And then they say, you know, hey, I'm hitting the ball, you know, 15 yards further than I was a year ago now. And so then we have others, you know, we actually have a lot of diabetics and people with MS that come in here for basically medical reasons. We're not a medical facility, but you know, they'll go to a physical therapist, they'll go to a massage therapist, and they'll come to stretch lab. And oftentimes, they'll tell us that they get more functional benefit from the services, and they get a stretch lab than they do from a massage or their physical therapy sessions. And so, but a lot of these these people, these members with MS and things like that come in for mainly joint pain relief, yeah, and increased blood flow. And so it just decreases their quality of life. They, they're more relaxed, the through the remainder of the day after their stretch, they sleep better that night, they feel more refreshed the next morning when they wake up, and they can't wait to get in for the next appointment.
Gabriel Flores 22:28
Yeah, I never really thought about the, you know, the extended benefits beyond, you know, I was thinking just, you know, from an athletic perspective, but yet, you know, I got one of my best friend, he has muscular dystrophy, you know, and you know, that I think this would be very beneficial to him and getting him stretched out. And I know, my brother, you know, he's a diabetic, sometimes, our movement, and his movement is a little bit different due to being having a prosthesis, you know, and so I think that is a very good point, you know, to be able to look beyond that, how or have you been able to market to that community as well? Or have you been focusing just on the running community in your marketing and branding?
Adam Haves 23:01
Oh, yeah. Well, we work a lot with, with physical therapists, okay. So they'll make recommendations to their clients. And one of the biggest frustrations with a physical therapist is they'll get a new client referred to them by a doctor. On that first appointment, they'll say, All right, well, here's three stretches I need you to do. morning and at night. And we'll book another appointment for you seven days from now and see where you're at. And then they come back a week later, Hey, how are your stretches gone? Well, you know, I did them that first day, but they're really boring. And yeah, I haven't done them soon. It's like, okay, well, your doctor is gonna get mad at you when you ask for more referrals for more PT sessions. And if you're not going to do the work necessary to get you to meet your, your, the goals we discussed with your doctor, then you're wasting your time. So I suggest you go see Adam down a stretch lab, I would see him at least once a week for the time being Gotcha. That's, that's going to be the best way to get you to where we need you to
Gabriel Flores 23:59
go. Yeah, because a lot of physical therapy stuff is like homework, right? You have to go home and do this for the hour. And you are it's like you're gonna stretch me out for the hour. Yeah,
Adam Haves 24:07
I mean, people just come in and they just lay on their backs, close your eyes and sometimes they don't even say a word they just breathe deeply and every stretch and and you know, other people can get a little more chatty. We're happy to provide homework for him to say, hey, you know, what's a stretch I can do? For my IT band? Ah, right side that gives me issues and we'll say Alright, well here, just take a stretching strap weight, it will float on your back. And here's how you would you go stretch that out. And so we give them pointers on that and I let them do their own self care.
Gabriel Flores 24:42
And it's pretty minimal equipment, right? Oh, yeah. Yeah, we
Adam Haves 24:45
basically just have our the flex apologist is are our main tool and we do use a hypervisor, the hypervolt guns. You know, if we're stretching out a person and we find a big knot in their hamstring, we'll take a hypervolt gun, do it for 60 Do 90 seconds just to kind of loosen that up in order to stretch it?
Gabriel Flores 25:04
And what exactly does that do?
Adam Haves 25:06
It's a percussive massage gun that basically will take a knot in your hamstring or in your lower back and, and, and loosen that up in order for us to get a deeper stretch into it. Nice.
Gabriel Flores 25:18
So So looking back on everything, you know, looking back on school, looking back on painting, looking back on the starting stretch lab, would you change anything, would you do anything different?
Adam Haves 25:29
I would have waited till post COVID to sign my franchise agreement No, from the studios, but ya know, everything was great. During the presale phase, I really enjoyed working with all my contractors on the build out of the studio. And then basically just all the grassroots marketing that was necessary to to get the studio up and up and running, originally. And so I made tons of great connections through that. And and now I've you know, I've general managers of both studios now that I do a lot of the work that I was originally doing during the pre sale phase, and so it's nice to be able to take a step back and enjoy being a business owner.
Gabriel Flores 26:11
Yeah, you know, it's kind of funny, I think people kind of misconstrue, you know, when you start a business, it's just kind of Alright, now it's revenue time. But there is a point I'm, I'm dealing with it now, right at a point where you're not making the revenue. Yeah. Did it take a while for you to kind of get to that point?
Adam Haves 26:28
Oh, yes. No, it took a lot of patience and some sleepless nights. Getting to that, to that point. So that that was that was a stressful one. And, and, you know, dealing with negative cashflow she was was was not a fun thing. Definitely not to wake up to every day, it's rough. So it's now that we finally turned the corner and we're seeing some some really good growth of both of our studios. It's a it's been a bit of a sigh of relief for me. No question about it.
Gabriel Flores 27:00
So what what advice would you have for young entrepreneurs, including myself, and all of our listeners at home? Or maybe you know, a younger self? Younger Adam, what advice would you have?
Adam Haves 27:10
Hmm. I would say it's always going to be harder than you think.
Whether it's doing your due diligence, researching your franchises, getting, you know, getting your financing, all all those ducks in a row, everything like that, it's always it's always gonna be harder. And I mean every day I never make it to the end of my to do list as a business owner it just, it's always there. There's always something on my to do list the list behind me every day when I stop working at six or seven o'clock at night, there's still plenty of things on my to do list and there always will be you know, I see you have got the whiteboard on the wall there and i i Keep notes on those. And I also use a dry erase pen on my on my windows in my condo just to write things down when I'm in a conference call or meeting and
Gabriel Flores 28:05
I will agree I have I have three different notebooks I have a whiteboard for those folks that cannot see I do in fact have a whiteboard with a to do list on it. In fact working through So Adam, for the folks at home that want to get stretched out where are your locations? How can they find you on social media? How can they get in contact with you?
Adam Haves 28:22
So our stretch lab Lake Oswego is on second and a right in downtown Lake Oswego was we're in the same building as salt install ice cream, bamboo sushi star cycle, spinning studio. We just had a breakside brewery taprooms a couple weeks ago. And so yeah, we're in a great community there with a very vibrant downtown core. You know, there's the farmers market right at Millennium Park a block down the street from us every Saturday for most of the year. And so yeah, we're at 395 Second Street in downtown Lake Oswego. Perfect. And we've been open for just a little over two years at that location. And then stretch lab progress Ridge is in project progress rich town square, which is just about a few miles west of 217 in Beaverton right next to there's a movie theater and Belg at Big Al's bowling alley, and we have a new seasons in our in our shopping center as well. Nice. And so yeah, We're open Monday through Saturday. And you can find us at either stretch lab, Lake Oswego, or stretch lab progress range on social media, Facebook, Instagram, and you can just go to stretch lab.com. And you can actually book sessions that either studio nice
Gabriel Flores 29:40
and easy or your team have social media channels as well. Our team members are your location, sorry. Oh, yes, yes. Perfect. So how do we find him on Instagram?
Adam Haves 29:50
Just type in stretch lab, Lake Oswego OR perfect stretch or progress ridge and then stretch lab. Lake Oswego. Nice.
Gabriel Flores 29:55
Adam havens, the studio owner of stretch lab. Thank you so much. for joining me on the shades of entrepreneurship for those at home you can visit me on Facebook LinkedIn Twitter or you can find me on Instagram Thank you and have a great night