Photo credit: Kentaro Yamada
Float Sixty founder and President Gloria Morris stands next to one of her float tanks at her location in Chicago, Illinois.
Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. It’s a metropolis that has a high-stress environment and a sea of people roaming through it every day.
Gloria Morris knows how stressful life in a big city can be and that’s why she started Float Sixty, a float therapy and meditation studio that aims to recharge and relax clients dealing with the stresses of their busy lifestyles.
“We provide a 60-minute oasis away from the craziness of the city,” Gloria said. “There is always so much stimulus coming at us. Our guests turn off their phones here and it’s always quiet.
Float Sixty is a very unique wellness concept. Customers enter a float tank (or sensory deprivation tank) filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt, which is full of magnesium, a natural muscle relaxer. Guests float in 10 inches of water for 60-90 minutes giving them a chance to relax, meditate, and heal.
“This is great for muscle recovery, tension and any type of joint pain,” Gloria said. “The pain relief is temporary, but it also allows you to unplug from the world.”
A Financing Relationship Built Through Trust
With the help of financing through an SBA loan from Stearns Bank, Gloria opened her first Float Sixty location in the heart of downtown Chicago, in February 2016.
“I’m sure when I came to Stearns Bank with this idea, they were a little skeptical,” Gloria said with a laugh. “I was happy to find a financial partner that was able to take a risk. This is something that isn’t yet mainstream and the industry is young and lacking a proven business model. We’re currently working on opening additional locations in Chicago and Northwest Indiana.”
Gloria appreciated how efficient the SBA loan process was with Stearns Bank, from start to finish. Everything was transparent, and Gloria saw how diligent SBA lender Katie Bobb was in helping her achieve her dream.
“I feel like you need a financial partner that wants to see you succeed and grow,” Gloria said. “Stearns was creative in terms of looking at the potential of this business and they believed in the opportunity to build a new wellness brand. They had an element of trust in my background and knowledge, and took a risk in Float Sixty. That is something that is very unique these days.”
Achieving Success As A New Business
Float Sixty has facilitated over 16,000 float therapy sessions in the first 18 months since opening. Gloria said they have been tracking more than 90 percent occupancy with a capacity to float 35 people per day in their studio. Float Sixty also offers a unique retail line that is focused on products that promote human-performance optimization, mental acuity and mindfulness.
“I always measure success by cash flow,” she said. “We have been cash flow positive since opening and are just now understanding how seasonality impacts our operation. We are waitlisted most of the time but as the weather gets colder, we are 100 percent full.”
Gloria added, “We are also closely analyzing the frequency in which clients float and are now seeing a spike in memberships. This suggests that our clients are beginning to understand that floating is not a novel thing to try just once. It is part of a total wellness routine.
Since Float Sixty has opened, it has garnered a lot of attention in the Chicagoland area. Some athletes (including NFL player Matt Forte, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews and former Blackhawks star Jeremy Roenick) have already become repeat customers.
“We have a lot of great personalities who come in for a lot of different reasons,” Gloria said. “People float for so many reasons. Athletes are just one sliver of our customers. There are older people who want to manage arthritis pain or people with insomnia who want to sleep better. It appeals to many different people for many different reasons.”
This type of customer success story is what makes it all worthwhile for Stearns Bank. We work hard to get the job done so our customers’ dreams come true.