Servant Leader: Eric Danver is the 2023 Mega Growth MVP
Name: Eric Danver
Company: FGG Spa
Units: 48 Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas
Family: Wife of 35 years, 4 children, 3 grandchildren
Years in franchising: 28
Years in current position: 8
Eric Danver is the 2023 Mega Growth MVP (Most Valuable Performer), awarded for achieving excellence in growth and expansion.
Eric Danver brings nearly 30 years of franchise experience to his job as CEO of FGG Spa. With 48 Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas in operation and a goal to hit 100, he begins with a basic tenet: The Golden Rule. It’s long been part of his faith to live by doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, he says. Applied to business, it translates as knowing that the better he does for his Hand & Stone employees, the better performance will be.
Authenticity is another quality he keeps in mind. When he visits locations and speaks with employees, he says, “You really have to mean it. And those conversations will always include a thank-you for their hard work. That approach is important in the kind of growth Danver has overseen. “We do a lot of acquisitions, and we know it takes time to build trust, so we make as few changes as possible in the beginning.”
Danver has another method of managing the asset Hand & Stone’s employees represent. Every quarter, employees receive a survey to determine their likes and dislikes about working for FGG Spa. “We take that feedback and try to get better from it,” he says. “We might not be able to make everyone happy, but we get up and swing the bat every day.”
Why do you think you were recognized with this award? We have more than doubled in size over the past 30 months and continue to grow with 10 spas already in 2023. We have 6 more in the pipeline that will close in the next 90 days.
How have you raised the bar in your own company? We strive to be the best we can be every day. We always maintain a focus of providing a world-class client experience (WCCE) for every guest who calls or comes into our spas. Blocking and tackling.
What innovations have you created and used to build your company? Nothing innovative. We just apply basic people skills to take care of our greatest asset, our team.
What core values do you think helped you win this award? People are always Priority #1.
How important is community involvement to you and your company? Very. We always want to give back to those who live in our community and to those less fortunate.
What leadership qualities are most important to you and your company? Servant leadership: to genuinely value and care about all our internal customers and our team so that they, in turn, will take great care of our external customers, our valued clients.
Formative influences/events: Being raised the right way by two great parents who have been married for 63 years and who are still a major part of my family’s life and mine.
Key accomplishments: Raising our four amazing kids with my wife into four amazing adults who have the biggest hearts and who care and value all the people they come across in their daily lives.
Next big goal: 100 Hand & Stone locations.
Hardest lesson learned: It takes a lot of failures along the way to be successful.
Best advice you ever got: Enjoy my children while they are growing up because it is over in the blink of an eye.
Favorite book: The Bible.
What’s your passion in business? To grow and be the best operators that our team and I can be.
Business philosophy: To empower and value all team members. My goal is to always retain our greatest asset, our team members. Obviously, some people do move on, but my goal is always to have them reflect on how much they learned and grew and how great it was when they were with us.
Management method or style: Servant leadership.
Greatest challenge: Staying right-sized and humble in spite of any success.
How close are you to operations? I am in spas as often as possible because visibility is so important. As often as possible, the team needs to hear from me how valued and appreciated their hard work is.
How do you hire and fire, train and retain? We have a great internal recruiter who is critical for our new hires, and we have great processes in place for training and retention.
What have been the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business? Covid was obviously a huge challenge for our business along with so many others. The aftermath took some time to recover from. Fortunately, our company and brand stood the test of time. We are back stronger than ever with continued great comparable sales growth.
Annual revenue: $78 million.
2023 goals: To be at 55 units.
Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? Spa count, revenue growth, and comparable sales growth.
Vision meter: Where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? I want to grow the Hand & Stone business to hit 100 units over the next 3 to 4 years, while building a world-class health and business category with one or two other brands over the next 5 to 10 years.
What are you doing to take care of your employees? Everything we can because they are our greatest asset. We have a great culture and other benefits, including a 5% matching 401(k) and a robust PTO plan. We also pay 70% of our employees’ health-care coverage.
What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? I would like to get a private equity deal done in the next 6 months to accelerate growth and develop another concept or two.
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