Floating in the City of Angels
Population: ~18.5 Million
Float Centers: ~ 15
Known for: Hollywood, Scientology, Tourism, Legendary traffic
Los Angeles is a major hub for almost every industry in the world in one way or another. Building on the foundations of Hollywood and their harbor, it’s the 2nd largest city in the United States. Given its population density, it’s large enough to support almost any industry, which for a burgeoning niche like float tanks is especially beneficial. Also, if you’ve ever experienced rush hour traffic on the I-405, you’ll know this city deserves to float.
The City of Angels has a special relationship with floating as well. Back in the 80’s, the Samadhi Tank Company had their 20 tank center in Beverly Hills before it shut down following the AIDS scare. As a result, there are people in L.A. that have been floating for 30 or 40 years, even if there weren’t centers around for the whole time. Also, with the rate of celebrity adoption to floating, word of mouth has shown the potential of exponential growth in Los Angeles.
New Name, New Features
Number of Tanks: 4
Years in Operation: 3
Tactical takeaways: Attracting clientele with other alternative healing methods can be a very effective way to get people in the door and expose them to floating.
Other Services: Pilates, magnetosphere chair, massage chair, hydrofusion pod, cryotherapy, far infrared sauna, quantum room, oxygen bar
Travel all over the world and you won’t find anything like the Nova Center for wellness. Formerly the L.A. Float Center, they’ve expanded into several alternative wellness practices since then, most of which are unmanned so you can comfortably meander around the center since almost nothing requires a practitioner. We were definitely impressed with the hardware in the facility: most of it looks so futuristic you’d expect to see it on a movie set, not a wellness center (I’m looking at you, Quantum Room). They even have an interesting pricing model, with all access memberships and day passes, making it so the more services you use the more you save.
Rick and Lisa Edge, the proprietors, have been passionate about floating for decades and finally opened their own self-funded center 3 years ago with the aim of making floating more accessible and more widely known in the area. They had a lot to say about the powers of floating and how it’s personally benefitted their own lives over the years.
The service is top notch. The rooms are spacious and modern. They have a large lobby to accommodate lots of people, and the rest of their services are on a separate upper floor from the float tanks. Situated in Woodland Hills, they’re positioned very well for VIP clients, as well as other L.A. natives interested in floating (or cryotherapy, magnetosphere, etc).
The Largest Float Center in the World…
Number of Tanks: 11
Years in Operation: Less than 1
Tactical takeaways: Aim big. Jim and Mike didn’t open the largest float center by compromising or cutting corners.
Other Services: Just floating. Lots of floating.
After the Nova Center, we made it to the largest float center in the world, located in Pasadena! Just Float is so far the only float center we’ve run the risk of getting lost in. With 11 custom built float rooms, they’ve set the bar pretty high for anyone else looking to build the Everest of Floating. The center itself was constructed to the nines, and we were all thoroughly impressed by how it’s turned out. Just Float has spared no expense, from design to water filtration to air quality.
The last one is particularly important to Jim Heffner and Mike Ruskow, the founders of Just Float. Jim has years of building HVAC systems under his belt, and he wanted to make sure that there was plenty of airflow, removing stale air while maintaining a constant temperature.
Just Float is a remarkable center run by remarkable people. It’s encouraging seeing such kind and thoughtful people succeed, which is what’s so great about the float industry. It just keeps happening. Not to mention that having such a massive center operating successfully right out of the gate is great sign for the growth of the float world as a whole.
Crashing the Newest Float Lab…
Number of Tanks: 7 (plus 2 more in Venice Beach)
Years in Operation: 15 (although the Westwood center is under a year old)
Tactical takeaways: In Crash’s words: “I used to say, get into this because you love it, but it looks like it’s finally becoming a business”
Other Services: Only Floating
If you’ve ever been to an NSF International meeting, or talked to an especially stringent health department about water treatment standards, it’s likely that Crash’s name came up along with his Float Lab tanks. Float Lab Technologies is the only manufacturer in the industry currently producing tanks which are NSF certified. Not just in California, either: that’s nationwide. As a byproduct of this, his tanks are set up with the filtration systems of an industrial sized swimming pool, which is just as impressive to see in person as it sounds. We’ve talked to more than one center that chose Crash’s tanks because it helped them get approval from their state’s demanding health departments.
We visited him in his new 7-tank location in Westwood. The floors were lovely, the art was beautiful, and the walls were covered in sound-proof foam, designed to reduce echo in the hallways. Crash has a hell of a set up, and he’s clearly very proud of it.
What’s most impressive about Crash is that he opened in 2001. We don’t know of anyone else opening centers in 2001, but Crash didn’t care that no one knew what floating was or that it wasn’t considered a viable business option. The fact that he’s expanded to opening a 7-tank center this last year bodes very well for him and for growth in the rest of the industry as well.
This was a great way to wrap up the tour of impressively massive LA centers, and truly, Crash has done a great job with his setup of everything in his space: from his float cabins, to his room construction, to his beautiful smoky quartz chandelier in the lobby.
Off to Newport Beach…
Number of Tanks: 3
Years in Operation: 1
Tactical takeaways: Staffing with the right people can make the difference in your center. Make sure that your crew are knowledgeable and passionate about the service they’re providing. It’ll keep people coming back.
Other Services: Pandora Star
At this quaint float center, we stopped in and spoke with a very chipper and energetic young woman named Lauren, who’s been working there about a year. She met the owner, Ron, after moving down from Seattle and looking for a place to float. He was impressed her knowledge of the tanks and ended up offering her a job, and we can see why. She’s definitely one of the most passionate float employees we’ve met so far on this trip, and she squealed with joy when we gave her a copy of our art book.
The center, although it’s only been in operation for a short while, is already looking at opening another location. Floating is certainly on the rise everywhere we go, and with the exuberance and kindness that emanated from Newport Beach Float Therapy, this particular business definitely deserve all the success that comes their way.
Issue #5 is not far away…
There were so many float centers to visit in the greater Los Angeles area that we had to break this recap into two issues. Look for Issue #5 coming in the next day or so where we’ll cover another round of float centers.
Our traveling 2-Day Float Tour Apprenticeship and 1-Day Advanced Workshop has confirmed four cities and dates where you can learn how to start and run a float tank center. New York City will be held at the Roosevelt Hotel and is quickly approaching. If you’re interested in knowing more about any of the Float Tour events, conveniently enough, we have a website for that: TheFloatTour.com.
Until issue #5…