Australia’s City Cave Floats Into North Texas with New U.S. HQ in Fort Worth

With 74 locations in Australia, New Zealand, and Florida, City Cave Float & Wellness Center says its float therapy transports people "into a deep state of theta relaxation" that can boost everything from creativity and mindfulness to sleep quality and more. With a former Subway CEO and former InXpress CEO on its leadership team, it's now on the hunt for franchisees.

Well, that’s one way to make a splash.

City Cave Float & Wellness Center—an Australian-based wellness franchise offering float therapy, infrared sauna, and massage services—has expanded into the U.S. market and is planting its new U.S. headquarters in Fort Worth.

The wellness brand has 74 locations across Australia, New Zealand, and its first U.S. float therapy center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, which opened last June. City Cave said it has “an additional 30” locations in the pipeline.

“As one of the fastest growing wellness franchises in the world, we’ve always had our sights on expanding into the United States,” Co-Founder Jeremy Hassell said in a statement. “Now that our first U.S. location has proven successful in [Fort Lauderdale], we’re all in on franchising, beginning in Dallas-Fort Worth. We can’t wait to further expand City Cave to new communities across the country.”

Floating into a ‘deep state of theta relaxation’

That floating experience in the photo above may look relaxing—but City Cave says even more benefits await.

The company says its float therapy experience “involves lying in a pool filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts, with water that’s perfectly heated to your external body temperature.” The brand promises to quickly transport people “into a deep state of theta relaxation,” “a meditative state your body and mind progresses into for an optimal healing process.”

City Cave claims this state “helps heal the body, reduces stress and anxiety, and immerses the body into deep relaxation”—boosting everything from creativity and mindfulness to sleep quality while reducing chronic pain and other maladies.

Australia’s City Cave Float and Wellness Center has opened a U.S. headquarters in Fort Worth. [Photo: City Cave Float and Wellness Center]

Co-founders met on a construction site

A former builder, Hassell met City Cave Co-Founder Tim Butters, a former tiler, on a Gold Coast construction site in 2014. Two years later, they launched City Cave in Australia to offer “a variety of holistic and clinical services tailored to each guest’s needs, providing the ideal space for relaxation and meditation.”

In 2019, the co-founders were named winners of the prestigious NextGen in Franchising Competition at the International Franchise Association Convention, becoming the first non-American brand to win the award, the company said.

That helped boost the brand’s growth, especially coming out of the pandemic. City Cave’s total footprint across Australia in New Zealand has grown by more than 300% since the start of 2021, the company said.

The company’s U.S. HQ in Fort Worth opened November 1 in a WeWork space on Edwards Ranch Road. 

“Geographically, Dallas-Fort Worth makes sense,” Butters and City Cave U.S. President Dustin Hansen told Dallas Innovates via email. “We’re central for all states across the country. It also means we can assist the American support office team with our Australian team with one direct flight.”

“There are some great franchise brands based here, which helps us with support office staff recruitment,” the duo added. “We want to be within close proximity to our new unit that will be opening in June. It’s is very important for us to give the best possible support to our new franchise owners.”

City Cave has partnered with ROS, a French franchise development company, “to ensure the sustainable growth of the brand. They have years of experience in placing great candidates that are the right fit for the brands they invest in.”

The company is currently hiring for many support functions and expects to expand quickly over the next 18 months. 

Aiming for global expansion—with a former Subway CEO on its U.S. leadership team

City Cave said it has found key partners in the U.S. “to bolster and champion” its global expansion effort. Its U.S. leadership team includes Suzanne Greco, the former CEO of Subway, and Hansen, the company’s U.S. president, who’s a former CEO of InXpress.

In this strategic alignment, Hansen has assumed the role of president, City Cave said, “while Greco takes on a mentorship role.” Greco’s LinkedIn page lists her as Co-Director of City Cave.

“Their collective focus is dedicated to collaborating with Tim and Jeremy in establishing a sustainable and profitable franchise brand, with a meticulous emphasis on enhancing franchisee profitability,” Butters said.

Additional local talent has been enlisted “to fortify the operational front across the United States,” the company added.

U.S. franchisees to be flown to Australia for in-center training

City Cave began franchising in 2018. 

“We’ve perfected our franchisee programming to ensure that we offer the highest quality training and a huge amount of support, and we’re excited to offer the early U.S. franchisees an all-expenses paid training trip to Australia for in-center training and peer-to-peer learning,” Butters, the co-founder and director of City Cave, said in a statement. “We look forward to finding franchise partners in the States with pioneering mindsets and who see the huge potential in building City Cave’s foundations from the ground up in America.”

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