Meet Brian and Grayden, owners of the Coquitlam and New Westminster LIVE WELL Exercise Clinics.
In 2015, Brian was looking for a fresh start in his career. He had just sold his mining company and was on the lookout for new and exciting business opportunities.
Around that same time, his father was experiencing very poor cardiac health and needed a big change in his lifestyle. Brian’s close friend Grayden suggested they check out LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, so Brian signed up his dad for regular exercise sessions.
It was during one of these sessions that a LIVE WELL Clinical Exercise Physiologist noticed a problem with his blood pressure. They immediately notified the doctor of their findings, and just over a month later, Brian’s father had open heart surgery for an aortic valve replacement.
Thanks to LIVE WELL’s unique medical fitness program and regular tracking of vitals, Brian’s dad was able to get the treatment he needed before it was too late.
After this experience, Brian talked to his wife about opening a LIVE WELL Clinic of their own. He teamed up with his friend Grayden, who had referred his father to LIVE WELL in the first place, and they opened their first LIVE WELL clinic.
The business partners now own two LIVE WELL franchise locations in Coquitlam and New Westminster, British Columbia. Read on to hear about their experiences as LIVE WELL business owners and what advice they have for future franchisees.
Life as a LIVE WELL Owner/Operator
Brian and Grayden, along with their wives Amanda and Sherry, operate and oversee the day to day operations of both of their clinics. Their primary focus as owner/operators is on business development - including marketing, lead follow up, and reaching out to community physicians to increase awareness of the LIVE WELL program. They also prioritize empowering their clinical staff to provide the best possible member experience.
Marketing and advertising efforts take up a big portion of their working day, according to Brian. In their community, they have found that a three-pronged approach works best for growing the business and attracting members to their clinics: partnering with worker’s compensation companies, forming strategic relationships with community physicians, and direct marketing.
“We are 150% in,” says Brian.
When not at their clinics or coordinating fundraisers and outreaches, Brian and Grayden are both family men who love the outdoors. Brian loves to go skiing with his family of five and holds a movie night at home each week. Grayden likes to take his two girls and wife out camping and RVing. The two originally bonded over their shared love of motorcycles, and they have been friends for over twelve years.
"We balance each other really well," says Brian. " Our different business skills developed from past experiences have benefited our business."
While being a LIVE WELL owner/operator keeps them busy, making time for family is very important to both Brian and Grayden.
“Family always comes first,” Brian and Grayden agree.
Whenever you walk into a LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, you will instantly notice colorful round notes stuck to the walls and mirrors. Each of these notes contains a member win, often along the lines of: “I was able to pick up my grandson without pain today!” and “Walked for an hour without having to take a break!” It’s one way LIVE WELL helps its members find the joy in exercising and celebrates the journey towards a healthier lifestyle.
“I will take the time to read those wins,” says Brian. “When you see those successes, that helps me know we are doing what we should be doing. When we know we’ve helped someone overcome something, it’s huge.”
One specific member win that sticks out in Brian’s memory was a woman who was struggling with crippling anxiety that prevented her from holding a job and being able to see her children and grandchildren. After a few months of regular sessions at LIVE WELL, she managed to significantly reduce her anxiety, get a stable job, and see her family. LIVE WELL was a truly life-changing experience for her.
He also recalls several other members who have gotten off of their medication, quit smoking, and gotten to a healthy weight all thanks to the LIVE WELL program. Their oldest clinic member is 86 with congestive heart failure, but he still shows up for his twice weekly workouts.
“It’s a huge testament that no matter how old you are… you can make that choice to change,” says Brian.
One of Brian’s favorite things about LIVE WELL is the sense of community that they have created with their members. Recently, he and Grayden successfully held a fundraiser at their clinic which raised $1300 for Mackie’s Place, an after school program for at-risk youth, all thanks to his supportive members.
Grayden and Brian’s Advice for Future Franchisees
Every new business comes with its challenges, and Brian and Grayden were one of the first franchisees within the LIVE WELL system. Brian admits that the biggest challenge they faced when opening their clinics was finding the right staff.
Their primary goal when hiring is to find people that are, as Brian puts it, “empathetic but able to challenge our members in an encouraging way.” As with many aspects of starting a business, it was a learning curve. As early franchisees, they also experienced challenges with financial planning resources and lack of brand recognition.
Fortunately, as the brand continues to grow throughout Canada and into the U.S., more and more people, and physicians, are becoming familiar with LIVE WELL and recognizing the dire need for this concept in our current health care system. The more the brand spreads, the more people will benefit from this revolutionary program.
As LIVE WELL grows and we continue to form strategic partnerships, we are constantly improving the services and guidance we provide to franchisees in terms of real estate, staffing, financial planning, marketing, and ongoing support.
Brian’s advice to new franchisees is to research thoroughly, seek advice from business professionals, and know your numbers - don’t neglect the business side of this member-focused brand.
“What we do is extremely rewarding, but don’t forget it’s still your business,” says Brian. “It’s hard work.”
At the end of the day, business ownership comes with its fair share of challenges but it also comes with lasting rewards. Brian and Grayden look forward to future expansion with LIVE WELL and have plans to open six LIVE WELL clinics in total.
If you’re interested in becoming a part of the LIVE WELL community, learn more about what it takes to become a franchisee.