Editor’s Note: This and upcoming issues of the Float Tour Blog will be documented by the newest member of the Float Tank Solutions team, JT Howard! We couldn’t think of a better way to welcome JT to the family than take him on the road with us…
Welcome to the Float Tour Blog, where we’ll be updating our travels and sharing what we learn from float centers along the way. First and foremost, we’d like to preemptively apologize to all of the centers we’re not able to visit during this trip.
Even at the outset, we knew that we’d have to make sacrifices on who we’d get to see, in part because we have to plan a route and not every center lines up perfectly with it, but mostly it comes down to the fact that the industry is growing so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible to visit everyone in such a short time frame.
We officially started off the trip on Monday March 14th, 2016 and left from Portland full of vigor and salt. We were very eager to get on the road, as getting insurance held up our plans by a couple of days. After heartfelt goodbyes to those that saw us off, we began on our adventure.
Our First Stop on the Float Tour…
Our first stop was in Eugene at Float Om, run by Ankush Vimawala, who had just returned from a trip to visit his family in India. A man of diverse talents and interests, he’s a musician as well as a talented photographer. He opened his shop just about four years ago after deciding to leave his job as a programmer.
In that short time, he’s already looking to expand from two tanks to three, which is very exciting. He showed us his space which is decorated with traditional Hindu art as well as framed photography taken by Ankush himself, creating a very personal and welcoming atmosphere to the space.
The Next Stop…
Number of Tanks: 1
Years in Operation: 13
Tactical takeaways: Incorporating an overnight component turns floating into a nice couples getaway, especially when paired with massage and a sauna.
Other Services: Hot stone massage, Massage, Sauna, Overnight stay
After Eugene, we booked it out to the Chumayo Day Spa in Blue Lake, California. Run by a wonderful couple – Art and Julie – Chumayo has been floating people for the past 13 years in a tank that Art built himself. The Chumayo Day Spa is more of a cozy retreat in a small coastal town than it is a strict float center.
They have massages, saunas and even a room to rent for couples who just want to get away and relax. They were very excited to meet us and really enjoyed getting to talk with other people passionate about floating. Their custom tank was possibly the most ornate one we’ve ever seen and it alone was worth the trip.
The Next Day…
Number of Tanks: 1
Years in Operation: 3.5
Tactical takeaways: Located next to a large fitness center, this float center has a built in demographic with Joe Rogan and Steph Curry endorsements for the athletic types.
Other Services: Massage
We stopped off quickly to visit the Renew Float Spa in Chico, California. Renew is a single float tank center located next to a fitness center, and as such is very much designed around a pre/post workout float. Their sign made direct reference to Steph Curry’s, directing people to check out the recent media on his float experience.
Wrapping Up the Day…
Number of Tanks: 3
Years in Operation: 2
Tactical takeaways: With dedication, floating can be a very successful business, even in smaller towns.
Other Services: Just Floating
From there we headed off to Marysville and met up with Zak King of Float Therapy. and he showed us around his three tank location, with his custom built tanks in rooms that he built himself. Clearly a very hands on float center. Float Therapy was one of our first Float Helm customers, and Zak demonstrated his integration of the Float Helm software to his center for us.
As the sole float tank center in the Marysville/Yuba City area, Float Therapy has been maintaining steady business and has the potential to expand. Zak King has been a floater for 2 ½ years and been running his own center with his wife and business partner Candice since the beginning of 2014.
They’ve loved the process so much, Zak is designing his own tank which he intends to unveil at the Float Conference this year. We saw some preliminary designs and it was pretty exciting some of the innovative changes he’s looking to bring.
To Be Continued…
As we mentioned in the beginning, this tour is going to take a few months are we’re very excited to meet with as many float center owners as we can over that time. However, due to the sheer size this industry has grown to, it’s ambitious (even for us) to say we’ll see everyone.
We’ve shared a few sample pics that we’ve taken so far, but we’re also shooting video during the Float Tour which will also be released over time. Stay tuned to Float Tank Solutions on Facebook, Twitter, and (now) Instagram for closer to real time updates of the tour.
Another issue in this series of blog posts is coming shortly, featuring our first manufacturer visit as well as a special visit with some Float Industry Icons!