The Picture of Health

Four health and fitness franchises that are putting wellness first in Canadian communities

Illustration of exercise-related items

Wellness: it’s more than a state of mind. Life gets busy, and we’re overstimulated, overweight, and overexposed to toxins more than ever before.

Enter the wellness movement, and the challenge to be mindful, eat our greens, and get more exercise. Wellness is a lifestyle that’s here to stay. Check out four systems where franchisees can work, live, and take a healthful approach to business each and every day.

Greco Fitness

First dreamed up by Tony Greco and business partner Paolo Fiorin, Greco Fitness started as a martial arts studio that expanded to include cross training. The Greco method, born from Greco’s experience in training professional athletes, is a full-body, circuit-style workout that targets performance and weight loss through functional movements.

The studio’s cool vibe comes alive with colour and texture. Complimentary espresso beckons early morning risers, and warm tones and rustic woods create a homey backdrop for members to gather. It’s a great place to get fit and have fun in a relaxed, intimate environment.

With 14 franchised locations in Ottawa and one location in Toronto, Tony and Paolo sold the company in 2016, but remain largely involved as Greco continues to grow. The company has partnered with experts like Integrity Square, a leading advisory firm in the lifestyle and wellness sector, to propel the concept to the next level. “They understand the boutique space,” says David Fowler, President. “We are partnering with the right people to produce the absolute best experience a member can have when they walk in.”

Embracing Tony’s mantra – live lean, live fit, and live well – the company has added offerings like Greco Lean and Fit, Greco Activate, Greco Strong, and Greco Hardcore, to meet their client’s diverse needs. Fowler says the options allows them to offer more content and to broaden their focus.

As the company grows, a key component of its success is ensuring that all the right people are driving in their lanes, assisting in areas like real estate, development, training, and education so franchisees can channel their focus on growing their businesses.

Though franchisees don’t need to come from a fitness background, a strong belief in the brand, its reputation, and its presence in the community is important. “Great things happen when you find the right people to partner with. Maybe that person is the investor, but they partner with someone that lives it, breathes it, and wants it.”

Fowler’s advice? The marketing aspect plays a large role in how to attract members. Get word out on social media, and get connected with local community to build awareness.

Learn more about Greco Fitness Franchise Opportunities

Lice Squad.com

When Dawn Mucci’s son came home with head lice, she couldn’t find a service to help get rid of them. She started Lice Squad.com, and 16 years later, the company is 33 locations strong and growing.

The first to bring natural, enzyme-based products to the market, Mucci says the eco-friendly option is better for clients, but also protects the environment. “We wanted to put a healthy, natural spin on the solution, and we wanted parents to stop using pesticides on their children.”

Pioneers in the industry, Lice Squad.com is in the process of launching an exclusive new HDM Mineral Technology that boasts a one-time application with no follow up required. The minerals use a high pH level to dehydrate bugs and eggs; an approach that will revolutionize the head lice industry. “This makes Lice Squad.com the preferred choice in lice removal companies, because we’re the only ones that offer it in Canada,” says Mucci, adding that Lice Squad.com holds the North American Master Licence for this technology.

Though the head lice game isn’t for everyone, Mucci says they offer a vital service that’s not going anywhere anytime soon. The head lice industry is a booming business. “We want to be in every community, so it’s about looking for like-minded people that look past the bug issue and see the business potential.” She adds that a franchisee never has to pick head lice to own and operate a Lice Squad.com location. “We need people with marketing and sales skills, who want to establish an awareness in the community. Put the business hat on, and take the ‘I’m buying a job’ hat off.”

As the business evolves, Mucci constantly looks for new, innovative ideas that will create opportunities for her franchisees, but she is quick to say that she’s not in it alone. “I’m not the only person innovating. It’s my franchisees who are the eyes and ears. A lot of things we’ve put into our system come from suggestions franchisees brought to us. My number one objective is to support them and help them succeed.”

Today, she marvels that she was able to take something she felt strongly about and create something profitable. “I still shake my head sometimes that I’ve created a franchise out of head lice. I find it hilarious. I love that I’m able to create an opportunity for other people to succeed. That right there is the icing on my cake.”

Learn more about Lice Squad.com Franchise Opportunities

Orangetheory Fitness

Health and wellness enthusiast Ellen Latham grew up around fitness. She developed ‘The Ultimate Workout,’ which quickly became the foundation of Orangetheory Fitness and its success. In fact, many franchisees began as members who, after experiencing the workout firsthand, wanted to evolve their role from member to franchisee.

“In Canada alone, over 90 per cent of our franchisees were members, and still are,” says Hifa Maleki, VP Franchise Development & Operations. “People looked at it not just as a business, but saw something there that they wanted to expand on. That’s really been the driving force behind the focus of the brand.”

With the fitness industry constantly in flux, the company differentiates itself with real-time, heart-rate driven innovative workouts. The concept is backed by the science of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC is what a lot of people call the workout “afterburn effect,” which is when the body continues to use oxygen and burn more calories as if you were still working out. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning, and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours post-workout.

The company began franchising six years ago in Florida, and now owns 600 locations globally, 43 of which are in Canada. “There’s so much passion behind the brand, and it works. Seeing the members connect to the product, there’s a lot of pride in that,” says Maleki.

The small footprint offers investors plenty of real estate options, and the build takes just five months to complete. The short turn-around time allows franchisees to start generating income quickly. A potential challenge in the competitive, sales-oriented fitness world is assuming that clients are lined up, ready to buy the product once the doors open. “The biggest challenge is shifting people’s thinking from ‘this is great, everyone wants to buy it’ to getting out and selling it.”

The company fosters ongoing training every step of the way. “Maybe we do too much sometimes, but I’d rather invest in too much than not enough to ensure franchisees are set up. People are trusting us with their investment, and trusting us with their kids’ college fund, and I feel connected to their investment.”

Franchisees come from all walks of life, but Maleki says the strongest franchisees are the most connected to their investment. “The strongest ones are present in their business as much as they need to be, and have the highest care factor to their investment.”

She advises franchisees to try before they buy, and to make sure they love the product. “There’s a lot of excitement and energy. You don’t have to be someone from fitness, but you have to feel connected to the product and brand, as you will be connected to it for a long time. You have to love it enough to buy it.”

Learn more about Orangetheory Fitness Franchise Opportunities

Oxygen Yoga & Fitness

When Jen Hamilton opened her first location in 2011, she wasn’t thinking of franchising.  The company grew rapidly, and soon, people were clamouring to get on board. In 2014, she took franchising off the market for 11 months to focus on system development.

“To think, it was an idea and a concept we kicked out of the park, and now all these people have the opportunity to do this. With the positive impact it has on people’s lives, honestly, I feel grateful,” says Hamilton.

With fitness trends constantly evolving, the name Oxygen Yoga and Fitness allows the company to introduce fresh new concepts in addition to yoga as others become passé. “It allows the business to continue to flourish, and allows us to be creative and in tune with what our clientele wants.”

With 60 locations across British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, many franchisees were once members who fell in love with the program and realized that it also made sense financially.

After an initial 30-minute phone meeting, franchisees delve into due diligence and a SWOT analysis to determine if the opportunity is a good match. Once on board, Hamilton approaches franchise training with a mom-and-pop shop mentality. “Our training is about creating relationships and a healthy environment and culture that is warm and welcoming for everybody.”

The restructure helped to redefine roles and responsibilities to further foster franchise success. “It was an amazing piece that’s created a lot of predictability and success within the system.” With five-year franchise terms, Hamilton says her first franchisees are in the process of re-signing and adopting additional locations. “I want to give the franchisees the opportunity to have more. It’s about communication, responsibility, and working together.”

Hamilton says that ultimately, success boils down to communication. “If something is not being executed properly, it means I need to find a way to communicate better and have the right people on my team to execute deliverables and find success. We each have a reason to serve our members and ensure that they are beyond satisfied. If they are just satisfied, we are not doing our job.”

She advises franchisees to create a place where they feel they have a positive influence. “Yes, there’s a sense of hierarchy in the business, but there are many intelligent people working in the system who bring knowledge and expertise, and have collectively brought ideas to the table. Creating a melting pot of ideas has allowed success.”

Learn more about Oxygen Yoga and Fitness Franchise Opportunities

See all franchises in the Health, Fitness & Nutrition Sector


By Gina Makkar