Borrower Story — Massage Athletica

Sports-related injuries are serious and unfortunately happen quite often. Whether you’re a trained Olympian or a recreational athlete who enjoys playing competitively on weekends, you’ll likely experience physical injuries at some point or another. That’s why massage clinics dedicated to athletes exist. They’re not your average shiatsu massage studio, as they put specific focus towards healing deep muscle-tissue.

A graduate from the Massage college of Manitoba, and a running champion in his own right, Mike Booth founded Massage Athletica in 2011. He is passionate about active, healthy living and keeping his body in great condition. As an elite level athlete for 10 years, Mike experienced his fair share of sports-related injuries. During that time, he visited many massage therapists and was surprised to learn that they didn’t have enough knowledge about athletic injuries. With this in mind, he decided to create Massage Athletica, an athlete-friendly sports massage therapy studio located in Winnipeg. The clinic’s core focus is towards helping clients alleviate physical strain, stress, and tension resulting from sports-related injuries.

We had the chance to have a quick chat with Lisa, Mike’s partner, and part business owner, to learn more about how they started Massage Athletica, how Lending Loop helped them in their continued growth and what the next steps are for their business.

How did you start Massage Athletica? What is your origin story?

My husband Mike and I are both massage therapists and went to school together. After graduating in 2011, he decided to open up the clinic. He then recruited two people that we went to school with. Three years into owning our Waverly location, Mike made the decision to begin expanding the business, and that’s when he decided to recruit me over to become a 50% owner of the business. From there, we opened up our St Mary’s Road location, and a couple years after that, we opened up our fourth location on Portage Avenue.

What were some of the challenges you faced in the first few years of business?

As a new business, it was difficult to get the visibility we needed. So, we decided to offer a Groupon for when we first opened, which ended up being very helpful. Another challenge was recruiting other massage therapists to work for us. Once the four of us became very busy, we wanted to ensure we were maximizing the use of all the rooms we had. Unfortunately, it was very difficult at the time to find new massage therapists to join our team. We would kind of just grab people as they were graduating from school before we eventually were able to find the additional therapists we needed. As it currently stands, we have18 people working across all clinics!

How did you come across Lending Loop?

We were looking online for ways to go about getting a loan. A couple of years ago we decided to leave our St Mary’s Road location because it was small, and decided we needed a bigger location to allow us to grow more in that area of town. We knew it was going to be difficult to get a bank loan because they make you go through all sorts of hoops. That’s when we came across Lending Loop online and decided to give it a try.

How did the loan benefit your business? And how was the process with Lending Loop for you?

The loan allowed us to expand more quickly than we would have been able to. It reduced our stress by going through banks and all the time commitments that come with that. The process with Lending Loop was very easy because it was entirely online! It was nice to be able to put our business on the marketplace and have Canadian investors fund the loan for us. It was a very friendly way to receive a loan, and a lot easier than just going through a bank.

How are things going for you now?

Things are going great for us right now! Lending Loop helped us secure a new location. We are busy, we have enough rooms to kind of spread out in terms of scheduling. And right now, we are working on a franchising deal with one of our clinics which is something I can see us doing more of in the future with all our clinics.

That’s fantastic! So this brings us to the next question: What kind of role does Massage Athletica play in the community?

Our business is built around helping people in need of therapeutic work or suffering from other athletic injuries. Right now, we are active members of the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba and are currently working towards becoming legislated as a licensed health care profession. So once we get to that point, we will be able to do MPI claims, which will take us to the next level in terms of what we are able to do for the community.

Our business is built around helping people in need of therapeutic work or suffering from other athletic injuries.  We try to bring awareness to the benefits of massage therapy by volunteering at workplace wellness events, Crossfit competitions and running events such as Manitoba marathon.