Xponential Fitness brings a much-needed wellness service into the mainstream with StretchLab


The assisted stretching franchise offers the best of boutique fitness and wellness businesses with a wide-open market

We all know that stretching is good for us, but just like flossing or drinking eight glasses of water each day, stretching is often an afterthought. Most people don’t stretch enough, correctly—or even at all. 

Regular stretching not only makes us more flexible, but it prevents injury, reduces stress, improves posture, and leads to better overall wellness. 

For many people, stretching can be a game-changer. It has helped those suffering from chronic pain and has enabled athletes to perform better. Interestingly, assisted stretching has also been the solution to a pandemic-induced problem—touch deprivation. People who have been starved for human interaction because of the isolation of the pandemic have found comfort at StretchLab—and created additional business in the process. 

StretchLab President Lou DeFrancisco

Thanks to the rapid growth of StretchLab, assisted stretching is gaining in popularity in the U.S. Now Americans can take advantage of the service that folks in many Asian countries have long considered a mainstream wellness treatment. And it’s not simply about adding five minutes of stretching after a workout during “cool down” or aiming to touch your toes for 30 seconds. It’s about working with a trained professional to get a long, deep, intentional stretch.

An outlier in franchising

Xponential Fitness saw the potential of this service long ago and acquired Los Angeles-based StretchLab in 2017. The brand fits right into Xponential’s boutique fitness business model but is an outlier in many beneficial ways. Rather than serving as a traditional fitness concept, it is a wellness service. StretchLab President Lou DeFrancisco, says assisted stretching has become the fifth major wellness modality, alongside physical therapy, chiropractic care, massage and acupuncture. 

DeFrancisco says StretchLab is unique in many ways. “While it’s part of the wellness industry, it’s also part of the boutique fitness world,” he says. “StretchLab is complementary to any fitness business. Franchisee candidates have shown a lot of excitement for the wide-open market.”  

We work with everyone from young, high-level athletes to stressed-out, 40-year-old executives and 70-year-olds who want to feel best in retirement.

Unlike other niche fitness concepts, StretchLab serves a vast demographic. It appeals to all ages and all fitness levels. “We work with everyone from young, high-level athletes to stressed-out, 40-year-old executives and 70-year-olds who want to feel best in retirement,” DeFrancisco says. A good stretch can benefit anyone.

A complementary business for other fitness concepts, StretchLab is ideal for local partnership opportunities. Franchisees can work with sports teams and create wellness programs for area businesses. Stretching is especially beneficial for business people who are hunched over computers all day. “It’s incredibly energizing,’’ says DeFrancisco. “What’s great is that people can go for a stretch at lunchtime wearing business clothes without even breaking a sweat.” 

StretchLab’s simple model

With everything taking place in one large open room, StretchLab offers a simple, quick build-out with a lower initial investment than most fitness concepts. Due to the one-on-one nature of the service being provided, StretchLab commands higher membership fees (around $230 per month) than the average boutique fitness brand.

Among the many benefits of ownership is the wide pool of prospective employees. With an exclusive training program, StretchLab franchisees recruit certified fitness and wellness professionals and train them as StretchLab Flexologists. Franchisees open for business with one general manager, one sales person and four to five flexologists, and ramp up from there. 

The brand is enjoying rapid growth with 325 units already sold and 109 open. “StretchLab offers the best restorative aspects that fitness, wellness, and personal training offers,” says DeFrancisco

Why StretchLab?

StretchLab’s innovative approach to assisted stretching has created a widespread and devoted following across the country.
  • StretchLab calls their service the most remarkably simple thing you can do to move better. Their innovative approach to assisted stretching has created a widespread and devoted following across the country. Here’s why investors are buying in.
  • Strong appeal to both men and women of all ages and fitness levels
  • The membership-based model brings recurring revenue
  • Positioned for local partnerships
  • Dual modalities: In both fitness and wellness space
  • Complementary to any fitness business
  • Feel-good business
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Jill Abrahamsen’s career spans more than 20 years in editorial, design, and marketing roles. She serves as editor-in-chief of Franchise Consultant Magazine and FranchiseWire. Through both platforms, Jill reports on franchising news and helps Franchisors spread the word about their brands.
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