City Cave float therapy chain backed by franchise heavyweights to expand in the US

City Cave float therapy chain backed by franchise heavyweights to expand in the US

Photo: City Cave, via Facebook

After dipping its toe in the US last year with its first outlet in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, Brisbane-born City Cave Float & Wellness Centre is stepping up its expansion plans for the North American market through a franchise model backed by two global heavyweights in the sector.

City Cave, a wellness centre operator that provides float therapy, infrared sauna, and massage services, is targeting the Dallas-Fort Worth market for its first franchise location in the US.

Founded in 2016 by former tradies Jeremy Hassell and Tim Butters, who struck a friendship after meeting on a Gold Coast construction site two years earlier, City Cave has grown from a single outlet in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley to operate from 74 locations in Australia and New Zealand.

The company, which has 30 more locations domestically in its sights, has ambitious growth plans for its network in the US market following the success of its debut float therapy location in Florida last year.

"As one of the fastest growing wellness franchises in the world, we've always had our sights on expanding into the United States," says Hassell, who alongside his co-founder won the 2018 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Award - Health & Fitness.

"Now that our first US location has proven successful in Flagler Village, we are all in on franchising, beginning in Dallas-Fort Worth. We can't wait to further expand City Cave to new communities across the country."

City Cave says the franchise journey in the US is being driven in partnership with Suzanne Greco, the former CEO of Subway, and Dustin Hansen, the former CEO of shipping and logistics franchise group InXpress.

Greco, the sister of Subway co-founder Fred DeLuca, was CEO of the fast-food franchise between 2015 to June 2018.

“Both individuals have left an indelible mark on highly successful global franchise systems,” says City Cave.

“Their collective focus is dedicated to collaborating with Tim and Jeremy in establishing a sustainable franchise brand, with a meticulous emphasis on enhancing franchisee profitability.”

Hansen will assume the role of president of the US operations, with Greco playing a mentorship role for the business.

"We've perfected our franchisee programming to ensure that we offer the highest quality training and a huge amount of support, and we're excited to offer the early US franchisees an all-expenses paid training trip to Australia for in-center training and peer-to-peer learning," says Butters.

"We look forward to finding franchise partners in the States with pioneering mindsets and who see the huge potential in building City Cave's foundations from the ground up in America."

City Cave, which in 2019 was named winner of the NextGen in Franchising Competition at the International Franchise Association Convention in Las Vegas, became the first non-American brand to win the award.

The award process involved the founders presenting their case for overcoming the challenges of growing their business via franchising in a Shark Tank-like pitch that was voted on by a panel of industry experts.

Greco, who is reported to own about 10 per cent of the business, was among the judges at the awards.

City Cave says that the recognition achieved through the awards led to a 300 per cent increase in the group’s footprint of outlets in Australia and New Zealand since the start of 2021. The growth has been aided by Greco's mentorship over the past few years. 

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