Where do you live?
Right across the street from Coral Reef Park. I grew up one block from where we live now. Our house is close to all the fields where we used to play as kids. It used to be a jungle around here where we could ride our bikes.
Would you share a little about your family?
I have two amazing beautiful daughters, Siena is 10 and Bailey is 12. Siena goes to Howard Drive and Bailey goes to Southwood. Both of my daughters are into gymnastics. Right now, we are preparing for Bailey’s Bat Mitzvah. My wife, Karen, is the VP of finance at Tracfone Wireless. She works very hard and I appreciate her so much.
How did you meet Karen?
A long story. I’ll share the quick story (which she would probably have a different story) We were both recently out of relationships and we went on a blind date. Then a couple of years later, we reunited, and we started dating. I always felt that she was the one for me, but it didn’t work out after an argument over something very simple and stupid. About a year and a half after that, I was with a friend in Las Vegas and noticed a couple girls at the baggage claim. When she turned around, I was like OMG it’s Karen. Of course, my friend said – this whole Vegas trip is ruined: “I know you, you’re gonna see this as fate, wind up marrying her, and having kids.” A couple years later, after being friends for a while, his premonition came true.
Please share about how you started Stretch Zone?
I started it with my childhood friend, Mike, who I’ve known since we were about six years old. We grew up together in this neighborhood. I used to own chiropractic and rehab facilities, specialized in treating auto accident patients. I am a chiropractic physician, I still hold my license and I do expert testimony for attorneys that need help with some of their cases.
Mike and I were at a Chiropractic convention and we walked into a room where there were many different companies selling their products for doctors to use with their patients. There was a company selling the stretching system and we tried it out and loved the technique right away. It was way better than any stretching technique available to the public. We realized that this was something that could go retail and stand on its own. That’s when we decided to start opening Stretch Zones.
How has your company grown?
Originally we opened up single rooms in other doctor’s offices. We had a location in a tanning salon, we even had a couple of locations in gyms. Once we realized how much we could help people and how well the system worked, we needed to open our own retail locations. In 2016, we closed the locations “piggybacking” off of the other places and opened five stores throughout Miami.
What is different between stretching on your own vs. what you do?
The biggest difference is the patented strap system. The straps stabilize your body so that you don’t have to work. You can sit back and focus on the relaxation and breathing. We have something called a stretch reflex which is our body’s way to prevent injury. If you move too fast or too far, the stretch reflex will lock your body down to prevent injury. By using the strap system, the stretch reflex is not activated because the muscles are relaxed. This allows us to stretch the body in ways that other systems aren’t able to. When the stretch reflex isn’t activated, your muscles can get a much deeper stretch.
Who comes to get stretched?
A lot of people think it’s for athletes, but it’s really for anyone who wants to move and feel better. By increasing flexibility, you can prevent injuries and increase your bodies circulation. Recently a woman (who requires a cane to walk) told me that her family lives in Chicago and there are a lot of steps to walk up to their front door. Her goal was just to get up those steps and be able to visit her family. I love helping people reach their goals and that’s our main focus. So whether its to relieve pain, perform better, move like we used to, or something as simple as just being able to bend down and tie your own shoes, stretching can help you in so many ways.
What is this session like?
Typically, we do a half an hour session. You want to wear something comfortable (that stretches). You’re going to meet with someone who’s going to work with you and assess what’s going on with your body. Depending on your goal, the stretches are customized to your needs.
What’s it like for you to work with your childhood best friend?
It’s nice to have someone that you trust completely. I’ve known him for so long that he knows my faults and strengths and I know his. We’ve always been able to tell each other what we think about things without taking it personally.
Do you have a market ritual at the Pinecrest Market?
First, we go to your stand. My kids love your smoothies. I love the rainbow smoothie and the Turmeric Tonic. We love the atmosphere and just walking around. It feels like you are on vacation when you are at the market, even though you are only a couple blocks from home.
How often do you get to the market?
Not often enough, that’s why I love being able to pick up your tonic during the week from one of our locations.
How are the LNB Grovestand pick up refrigerators going in your stores?
People that try your Turmeric Tonics, love it and once they start using it they love how they feel. When I started using it, the taste was a little awkward, but I have learned to learn to like. It really reduces a lot of inflammation in my joints.
I think your company has a an overlap with ours with helping people live and feel better. I think we make a great team.
Where do you like to go out to eat as family?
We’re big fans of Anacapri. We love the food – I’ve had everything on the menu and it is all great.
Do you have a family or favorite recipe that you would share?
I like to barbecue and a lot of good friends have taught me their secrets. I may get into a lot of trouble for sharing this but Ryan Rothenberg and Adam Hellman taught me about cooking ribs. The trick is to slow cook them in the oven before you do anything else. Cook them at 200 degrees or less for many hours – maybe even overnight. I can’t share exactly what their secret rub is, but it may or may not include sugar. 😉
What do you do for a special occasion?
We like to travel. My parents live in North Carolina part of the year and I like to get away there to relax. We’ve been working a lot lately, so hopefully there’ll be more vacation time in our future.
What is Miami’s best kept secret?
One of our GM’s, Mary Smith, is a comedian. Whenever she performs it’s always a fun time. Sometimes it’s hard to work with her though, because right in the middle of something serious – she’ll make you crack up. I guess everyone needs that but we never stop laughing when she’s around.
Where’s the most romantic spot around?
I have a place that I like to go, but it depends on the time of year if the no-see-ums are out and if you have a boat (it’s a lot easier to get there). But there’s always Lugo point. I don’t think the homes on that street would appreciate me saying that.
Do you participate in any community or philanthropic events that you would like to share?
We work with several charities. Many of our customers have neurological disorders and we try and support as many as we can. The most recent ones that come to mind is the MS Bike and MS Walk. We set up tables after races to share what we do and are always willing to participate in many charity events. Last weekend we were able to go to the Rock n Run event for the Miami Cancer Institute to benefit breast and ovarian cancer. It was a great event and I thank Meredith and Amy for getting us involved.
Would you like to share a pitch about Stretch Zone with our readers?
Please stop in and mention that you are an LNB Grovestand reader. Your first visit is on us – even if you have been it before and want to try it again, we’d love to see you. You really will never know how good you can feel until you commit to one of our programs. It can change your life in so many ways.
Is there a question that you would like to ask the LNBs?
When can we get more of your products in your pick-up fridges?
A+W: We are adding Roselle Concentrate this week. It is full of antioxidants and vitamin C, a beautiful ruby red color and can be used to make your own juice, soda, smoothie, or cocktail!
Is there a question that you would like to ask the community?
How can we alleviate some of the traffic around town?
If you would like readers to be able to contact you, how should they get in touch?
They can call us at (305) 235-1999 and that will connect them to all of our locations throughout Dade county.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
It’s not something we don’t already know, but just a reminder to appreciate every day. Life is short and we’re not here for a long time so we must live every day to the fullest. And when times are hard, take a break and think about what’s important to you.