CHARLOTTE – StretchLab has been open in Charlotte for just over a year and a half, but the company has already expanded its footprint with plans of even more growth coming in the very near future.
The concept is spreading as the company has its hold with new locations popping up around the United States. It’s already expanded in Charlotte, too, with the original location in SouthPark, located at 914 Old Sardis Road, and the newest location in Dilworth that opened last August which is located at 1235 East Blvd.
“I think the biggest impact we’re making is at the individual, pain-relief level,” said Steve Hitzemann, co-owner of StretchLab’s Charlotte locations with his wife, Stacey. “People are feeling good from getting a good stretch and doing it consistently. We’re sticking to what we do with stretching, stretching and more stretching. We say we’re for everyone and for everybody. It’s regardless of physical shape or what kind of health you’re in, we’re here to help everybody.”
Hitzemann hires and trains flexologists in the art of assisted stretching. Each flexologist comes with their certificates and receives many hours of training specific to assisted stretching.
So, no matter which location or which flexologist works on customers, the experience is the same for everyone.
Hitzemann said he’s seen all sorts of people, and StretchLab can help them all achieve their goals, no matter what those may be.
“For a lot of people, it’s lower back pain,” he said. “That’s where this stuff starts as it sort of manifests over the years. You get the tight hamstrings and glutes in the lower back and that goes with it. But it can be anything. We’re here to help folks with customized stretching to whatever their needs are. We can customize to what each individual, regardless of what their needs are, is there to do. The end game is to make them feel better.”
The people of Charlotte have been reaping the benefits of better health.
Hitzemann says that between the SouthPark and Dilworth locations there are already around 550 full-time members, and that number seems to grow daily as word of mouth spreads.
Hitzemann said he often hears referrals from existing customers. A customer on this day had come in because of good word-of-mouth advertising from a man’s sister-in-law, who was a regular and had recommended giving it a try.
With quite a few members and walk-ins like that customer, plus the bustling population, Hitzemann said plans are in the early stages of expanding to the Huntersville area and possibly as soon as the second quarter of this year once he finds the right location.
“The plan was definitely to grow across Charlotte,” he said. “We needed to know if the concept was going to take with people and it has. The reception continues to be really big for us.”
Hitzemann said he knows how StretchLab can benefit people first hand. He first became interested in stretching after injuring his back.
Traditional medicine and chiropractic care didn’t help the way stretching was and the idea of assisted stretching was starting to take shape so the fit was natural.
Now, with two stores thriving in Charlotte and plans for more expansion already on the horizon, it’s clear the assisted stretching is here to stay and Hitzemann and his trained flexologists can help anybody with any type of pain.
That certainly has some staying power.
“I always hear from people that I feel better, I stand taller or I’m sleeping better,” Hitzemann said. “It’s a different experience from a chiropractor or a medical doctor. The community we’ve created and the way people are feeling coming out of there from a posture perspective. I always hear about that. People start to stand taller and then they’re also paying more attention to those things on a daily basis. They might be in there once a week, but now they’re thinking more about their posture and sort of the homework the flexologist has given them.
“This opens the door if it’s just on a daily basis or if it’s so they can run longer, cycle further, walk their dog longer or just help them on a daily basis. That’s the nuts and bolts of why we’re here – to help people feel better.”