|In the competitive space of 30-minute women-only circuit training clubs, one clever club owner in the greater Sacramento California area installed a high tech wellness apparatus to gain a competitive edge. As an added profit center, she installed an Aqua Massage unit which helps lure in new members and keep existing ones. Oh, and the added revenue's not so bad either.
SHERRY ZEDLITZ WAS AN EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATOR constantly on the go between her job and raising 3 sons. Now into her fifties with the boys grown, she decided to turn her fitness avocation into a vocation. Possessing a burning desire to help fellow women to get fit, she opened her own independent 30-minute women-only circuit training club, called Women Only Wellness (WOW for short), in Folsom California. Little did she know that other competing circuit clubs would soon be popping up around her like dandelions in spring.
Although the idea of leaving the corporate world to start a business was daunting at first, Sherry decided to make the plunge. After doing all her research, she felt all the pieces were in place and there was no turning back. After discovering that several competitive circuit clubs were coming into her area, she made sure on opening day, her club included a secret weapon.
Sherry recalled, "Even though there was only one Curves in the area when I did my research in October 2003, by the time I got in here the following June, there were 3 Curves, a Ladies Workout Express a month later, and a Slender Lady shortly after that. With a lot of competition coming, I thought, 'I really do want something that's different that sets me apart." That something was an Aqua Massage Spa unit.
"My tax consultant had just come back from Las Vegas and had the most wonderful massage… I thought, 'I would love to offer that to my ladies because it fits' "
In addition to providing superior, resistance-changing equipment for her fitness center, Sherry knew she needed to go the extra mile by offer something the franchises could not. When asked how she came to zero in on Aqua Massage over all the other possible amenities a club could offer such as a tanning bed, she responded. "I turned down the tanning beds because I'm into wellness. I don't believe in combining a fitness center with anything that's not healthy. Massage is good for the body and the mind."
"My tax consultant had just come back from Las Vegas and had the most wonderful massage… I thought, 'I would love to offer that to my ladies because it fits'; the ladies are in a hurry, they have a busy lifestyle and they want to get exercise over with in 30 minutes. Therefore a quick massage without extra time or fuss for disrobing seemed to fit the profile… It's quick, it's private, and it's also therapeutic. I want my gals to feel good about themselves. The happier they are, the better chance of losing weight."
Shopping Around For Massage Units
As a new- found business owner, Sherry considered it wise to explore the entire field before deciding upon a particular brand. She drove several hours away to try out several makes and models. She found that although some of the competing units were less money, they also offered far less in quality and features that she felt she needed for a health club. But mostly she was discouraged by the sales pressures.
"I was very discouraged by the competing units, but something kept prompting me to try one more, to try the Cadillac, so I drove to Reno to specifically try the Aqua Massage. 'If I'm going to do this, I'm going to buy quality, do it and do it right', I told myself." It turns out she loved the machine and her two grown sons also gave a thumbs up approval on it.
Wary of sales pressure and empty promises from her previous experiences, she cautiously called the company in Groton, Connecticut, and quickly her fears were dispelled. "The clincher was when I actually called the Aqua Massage company. The people that run it are awesome. They are intelligent, they have integrity, they are soft spoken, and they're not pushy salespeople at all."
After some consultation, Sherry decided upon a 60- month payment plan and purchased her Aqua Massage Spa unit. There are several models, but the Spa unit includes a CD player, headphones, aromatherapy, and "Body Profiler tm" touch screen that is easy to operate by her club members.
Installation In A Single Day
Aqua Massage had the unit delivered to the club and flew out a technician for the installation. The technician spent the day quality testing the machine and training Sherry and her local electrician. Sherry recalled, "He spent a whole day in here setting it up and training us; their manual is good, not complicated, even though the machine is very sophisticated… They know what they're doing, their service is awesome. The technician that came out was wonderful, they're just a very good company."
Aqua Massage trains the clubs' local electricians to provide first level support should anything go wrong with their units. "One of the requirements is that they have your electrician be on hand when they go over everything…which, for a high tech product, is very comforting," Sherry added.
How The Aqua Massage Spa Works
The Aqua Massage Spa is a self-contained unit that is roughly 8' long by 3' wide covered by an acrylic canopy covering the massage bed. The canopy is self-powered to allow easy access by the user, without the need of an attendant. The user is fully clothed in whatever she's wearing at the time. A waterproof membrane keeps her totally dry and yet it's supple enough to allow for a deep massage. Spray bars encircle the user, allowing a full surface massage on three sides of the body.
There is an inverted V-shaped spray bar that horizontally travels back and forth, massaging the full length of the body. The spray bar contains 36 computer controlled water jets which simulate a personal "finger tip" massage with adjustable water pressure, temperature, and pulsating frequency.
There is a hand-held user control panel with a pause button, reverse direction switch, and a pressure increase/decrease switch where the user can easily concentrate the jets on a specific area of their body, if desired.
As if the massaging action wasn't enough to totally relax your members, the Spa unit also offers a headphone set complete with CD and mp3 players. It also offers aromatherapy to enhance the senses and melt away the stress.
In a health club atmosphere, no additional staff is required to operate the Aqua Massage. It has a simple touch pad to start, or it can be outfitted to accept tokens. Fitness centers generally offer duration ranging from 7 to 15 minutes. If the unit is located near a common entryway, it can also be open to the public, similar to tanning centers within clubs.
Although the essence of the Aqua Massage is the water jets, the unit is totally self contained. It does not require plumbing or draining of the water. Since there are no oils as with used by a masseuse, there is no post-session cleanup.
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