UF Alumni Open Stretch Zone Fitness Franchise in Gainesville
Stretch Zone, a fitness business focused on the health benefits of practitioner-led stretching, joined Gainesville’s growing wellness community on Monday. The new franchise is owned by two former University of Florida students and long-time Gainesville residents Lynn Domenech and Margie McGriff. Stretch Zone’s CEO, Tony Zaccario, is also a UF graduate.
Located at 3832 W. Newberry Road by the Regal Royal Park movie theater, Gainesville’s Stretch Zone is the company’s 140th store. Zaccario, Domenech, and McGriff said supporting wellness in the city is a way to repay the university and community that means a great deal to them.
“This is a place that will always have a place in my heart, my family’s heart,” the CEO said. “The significance is huge.”
“We’re just happy to give back to this community that gives so much to us,” Domenech added. “Gainesville needs this”
Domenech, who has previously had two other local businesses and plans for this one to be her third and final, said she first became interested in the company in February after hearing about it from a friend. Curious, she traveled to a Florida location to try the stretching experience herself and knew it was something Gainesville was missing.
So Domenech called up McGriff, a fellow health and fitness enthusiast whose family has been involved with football and athletics for years, and the two women worked with Zaccario to bring Stretch Zone to the city. “When Lynn told me about this, I thought, ‘oh my gosh, Gainesville needs this,'” McGriff said. “Stretching is awesome.”
The CEO and owners said practitioner-assisted stretching can benefit anyone, not just athletes looking to enhance their physical skills or in need of relief from sore muscles. It can help with things like posture, weight loss and sleep, as well as flexibility, movement range and stress relief.
McGriff, for example, said stretching is important in her life to help keep her limber so she can play with her grandchildren. Domenech said while she’s always been into wellness and stretching, she knew she needed to ramp up her efforts to go into her senior years as healthy as possible. Having a business that aligned with their personal interests and values and was really something they love was a key component for the duo. Almost simultaneously, they said, “It’s who we are.”
According to Zaccario, the Gainesville location is fully booked for two weeks from its opening, kicking off a great start for Domenech and McGriff, who he said hope to run the best Stretch Zone franchise of the entire company. “In Gainesville and the University of Florida, we don’t settle for average,” he said.
Stretch Zone is poised to have 200 locations by the end of 2021, according to the company’s website. Interested patrons can call the Gainesville store at 352-451-4107 to arrange their first stretch for free. It is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the initial appointment, a personalized stretching plan will be developed, Zaccario said, and customers can arrange memberships to come in one to three times a week based on their needs.