We’ve officially left California! Retracing the wagon tracks of our pioneer ancestors, we head East, blazing a new trail with “The Minister Winchester” as our modern day horse and buggy. As we traverse further into the desert through Las Vegas and Arizona, we take a look at a completely different culture surrounding floating.
A heated saltwater pool seems like a tough sell in a land where summer days get up to 130°… but this is also the heartland of True Rest, which has had significant success opening centers and getting people to float, so the appeal clearly rises above temperature.
Floating in Sin City
Float Centers: 3
Known for: Unfortunately I’m not permitted to say what it’s known for, because what happens there, stays there.
Coming in, we knew that if anywhere needed float centers, it was Las Vegas. With all the noise, flashing lights, heat, traffic, along with all the other sensory stimulation found everywhere you look, it can feel like an overload just walking around. It’s a perfect place to sell a little bit of Nothing.
We’d heard stories about the Nevada Health Department and their stringent requirements of float centers, but the places we visited told us that it hasn’t been a huge issue. One of the drawbacks we saw on this front is that Nevada is one of the states that uniformly requires chlorine to be put in float tanks, but clearly there wasn’t enough resistance to stop float centers from infiltrating the city.
Our First Vegas Stop
Number of Tanks: 4
Years in Operation: 2
Tactical takeaways: Being the premiere float center in a large city can have an amazing impact on the community. Likely, some of your regulars will become float center owners themselves.
Other Services: Just floating
Put yourself in our shoes. You’re planning a float tour to visit as many centers in a short amount of time. Las Vegas is a bit out of the way. Conceivably, you could skip it and dedicate that time to visiting more centers in a more population dense area, but you see that one of the centers is called “Go Float Yourself”. Next thing you know, you’re sitting at a low stakes blackjack table and ordering a beer.
GFY was started by this super cool mother/daughter team, Mary and Abigail, who knew that they needed to fill that Las Vegas niche. Before them, there wasn’t a commercial space to float, which can be intimidating for a new business. Since they’ve opened, though, they’ve found it pretty easy to find floaters. There are even some VIP clients who swear floating is their lucky charm at the poker tables (although Abigail suspects that really it’s just that it helps with hangovers).
From Floater to Float Center Owner…
Number of Tanks: 4
Years in Operation: 1
Tactical takeaways: Once you open a float center, you become the de facto expert in your area. People will start calling you for advice on tanks & help with maintenance. This is a good thing; the more you help others, the more you help the industry as a whole (and yourself in the process).
Other Services: Halotherapy
One of the things we see a lot is that once a float center opens in a major area, another one isn’t far behind. People fall in love, and it becomes their goal to open their own center and introduce even more people to floating. Travis of Float Centers of Nevada was a former customer of Go Float Yourself, but saw the need for another center across town. He opened up and even installed two halotherapy rooms.
A salt massage after a salt bath?
Pretty good combo.
Float Centers of Nevada has only been open for about a year, but it’s already thriving. Travis is eager to bring floating to the community around him, and his focus is on the mental well-being of his clients: something that we could all use more of.
Float Sanctuary (Part 2)
Number of Tanks: 4
Years in Operation: 1
Tactical takeaways: We’re happy to see owners who are able to open multiple centers in different cities/states, but be prepared: clearly it can become very demanding of your time.
Other Services: Just Floating
Here we are at Float Sanctuary’s second location in Las Vegas. We were eager to speak to the owner about the logistics of opening up multiple float centers, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to connect with him.
Their float attendant, Mark, was incredibly nice and helpful though. He showed us around the center and even took a patented, Float Tour, arms-in-the-air picture with us. They exclusively use Escape Pods in their centers, and their showers are exactly like ours used to be, which made Graham and Ashkahn feel a bit nostalgic.
Thank you, Mark!
You are a credit to the float industry!
Arizona… An Oasis of Float Centers in the Desert
Number of Tanks: 2
Years in Operation: 1
Tactical takeaways: No matter if you’re a small mom and pop float shop or a big franchise, this is a business about healing people.
Other Services: Oxygen Bar
Our first True Rest stop on the tour. True Rest is the first floatation franchise in the U.S. to really start cranking into gear. Started by the Janickis, True Rest has 14 centers open now and as many as 30 scheduled to open all across the country. We’ve known Nick and Holly for years now, and they’re incredibly passionate about floating and alternative wellness in general. They even practice Qi Gong in their spare time.
They’ve worked hard to find people who want to cultivate a float culture at their centers; Sedona was no exception. Opening a franchise like this can be a good opportunity for people interested in getting into floating while mitigating some of the risk associated with it. As we know, there’s a lot that can go wrong in a float business, and having someone to guide you along the way is invaluable.
Floating in Phoenix
Population: ~4.3 Million
Float Centers: 4
Known for: The Painted Hills, the Phoenix Suns, the incredibly overwhelming heat that you didn’t know could exist anywhere on Earth
Phoenix is home to True Rest, the largest franchise of float centers. We didn’t spend much time at the True Rest centers nearby, due to scheduling conflicts with the tour. Graham and Ashkahn did stop by very recently when the World Aquatic Health Conference was held in Phoenix and they were very impressed by their centers. They’ve been operating since 2009 and making fantastic progress in expanding the float community out here.
As such, Phoenix is becoming home to more than just The Suns, it’s a hotbed (heh) of floating activity. Our visit was painfully brief, but we did get a chance to stop by and say hello to one or two centers.
Number of Tanks: 1
Years in Operation: 7
Tactical takeaways: Sometimes life takes you someplace you weren’t expecting. This was the case for Patrick at Vibetality and his quality of life improved dramatically. And when you have a technology that changes you so completely, it can inspire you to open a wellness center and share that with others.
Other Services: Yoga, vibration yoga, massage, meditation, whole body vibration
Vibetality is a yoga studio that also places a focus on floating and general wellness practices. It’s clean, modern, and spacious. It has an expansive yoga studio and behind it, a soundproof room with an Oasis tank.
The place is beautiful and a testament to the work that Patrick at Vibetality did building out most of the center himself. It’s a project of passion, both because of his love of floating, and also because his partner (both in business and his personal life) is the main yoga instructor here. But what struck me most wasn’t his center: it was him. He’s the only person so far who smiles more than Graham on this trip, and the conversation the two of them had was more akin to two kids giggling in circles. He’s just an incredibly happy person.
Prior to being a yoga instructor, he was a body-builder, which you might find surprising given his athletic but not crazy-big-muscle-bulging frame these days. At one point in his career he suffered a pretty severe injury, to the point where it was nearly impossible to walk and he was bedridden for years.
Body-building was out of the question.
He didn’t have a whole lot of options until he found floating. It relieved the pain enough for him to walk, and his physical therapy accelerated. Everyone has a story about how they got into floating, and it’s a different journey for everyone, but it was absolutely inspiring to hear Patrick’s. It’s easy to see why he’s as happy as he is these days.
On to the next states…
That’s it for this sun-shiney segment of our exploits on the road. From here we get closer to the heart of the origins of floating. Next post we’ll share our journey to New Mexico and into Oklahoma, where some of the very first research on floating was done. It’s now come full circle, as the only well-funded institute doing research on floating is located in Tulsa. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself…
Our traveling 2-Day Float Tour Apprenticeship and 1-Day Advanced Workshop is where you can learn how to start and run a float tank center. Chicago and Calgary are 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 #8…