iCRYO, a cryotherapy business headquartered in Houston, is planning to open its first two locations in Arkansas for its subzero-temperature treatments.
The company said Monday (Sept. 23) that franchisees Shauna Bowen and Matt Martin — two co-founders behind Fayetteville-based peer-to-peer mobile parking app FanSpotz — will own stores in Bentonville and Fayetteville. Both locations are expected to open in 2020. The Bentonville store will open first in the early part of the year. The owners said the locations have not yet been determined.
“The state of Arkansas has been a priority for us as we continue to grow,” iCRYO co-founder and COO Kyle Jones said in a statement. “Matt and Shauna bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team. We know they will be great assets to the iCRYO family and look forward to the grand opening of each of these locations in 2020.”
Cryotherapy has emerged in the past five years as a wellness treatment, initially for elite athletes. It has become more mainstream because of its supposed benefits which include pain relief, increased metabolism and improved mood.
While the effects are similar to those of an ice bath, cryotherapy uses liquid nitrogen to cool the body down at a much faster rate.
“From a retail standpoint, cryotherapy has been growing the past four or five years in more of the metro areas across the U.S.,” Martin said. “What you are starting to see now is that it’s moving into more of the suburbs and highly affluent areas like Northwest Arkansas.”
Martin said the treatment can be used for both reactive and proactive reasons, for both athletes and non-athletes. He views Northwest Arkansas as a good market for cryotherapy because of its large communities of cyclists and runners.
“We [Bowen] both have backgrounds as athletes,” he said. “But I also have a history of autoimmune disease, which causes inflammation of the body. I use cryotherapy a lot of times to regulate that. I have found it to be a huge benefit. Plus, I also sleep better, feel better. It’s really sort of a proactive approach to health.”
iCRYO launched in 2015 and developed a franchise model two years ago. The business, which counts Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith and fitness celebrity Paige Hathaway among its investors, has a combined six stores in Texas, Florida and New York. Seven more are in development. It offers whole body and localized cryotherapy, compression therapy, cryotherapy facials, infrared sauna, vitamin IV therapy and cryoskin body contouring.
“Our passion for this is threefold,” Bowen said. “We have a passion for innovation and leading technology in general. Second, Matt and I both have a strong passion for healthy living. We are athletes who train hard and want to preserve that ability and both of those combined fold into the third one which is helping other people achieve their full potential as well.”
Bowen and Martin said they had been looking for business opportunities in the health and wellness space for several months when they crossed paths with iCRYO.
“As we started talking with them, their business seemed to mesh really well with our passions and our goals,” Bowen said.
Bowen said each location in Northwest Arkansas will employ between 10 and 15 workers. iCRYO will join other cryotherapy retail businesses in the region. CryoFactor Wellness Center, which is locally owned, was the first to open in 2014 in Fayetteville. It operates a second location in Bentonville.
Austin, Texas-based Restore Hyper Wellness and Cryotherapy operates retail locations in Rogers and Little Rock.
Martin said the initial franchise agreement with iCRYO is for two locations, but he added, “We do have a plan and a vision” for growing the company beyond that.
According to recent research, the cryotherapy market is expected to grow from $206 million in 2019 to $319 million by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%. The research points to the rising frequency of sports injuries, cardiac conditions and cancers as driving the growth.
Company growth is also the trend for FanSpotz. Bowen, the chief executive officer, and Martin, the chief product officer, helped launch the app four years ago. This past summer, the service expanded to the Dallas-Fort Worth market, the startup’s first expansion outside Arkansas.
The app, available at the App Store and Google Play, facilitates event parking by connecting attendees with property owners, who have spots for rent.
“We’ve got some good traction now that Arkansas football has started and we’ve got some really good traction and reception there [Dallas-Fort Worth] as well,” Bowen said.