Helen Martin’s Growing Stretch Zone Empire Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

It all started with a simple question: “Do you want to get stretched?”

It was March 2014 when Helen Martin first met Jordan Gold, the founder of Miami-bred Stretch Zone, at a local golf tournament. Until then, Martin had made quite a name for herself within the sporting goods industry, including a 20-year span that included The Sports Authority’s corporate office in Fort Lauderdale to a major sports marketing role in Atlanta to owning her own kid-centric business, Kwik Golf.

“When I met Jordan, it changed the direction of my life and my family’s life,” she says. “We met in March 2014, and, by the end of May 2014, I had rented floor space at a local physical therapist’s office in Stuart and was underway. Back then, I didn’t have a website and just had demo cards to hand to my friends to come in for a free stretch. Eventually, things have been built up brick-by-brick.”

For Stretch Zone newbies, the experience lives up to its name. It’s all about increased mobility and muscle function. Accredited practitioners follow the brand’s patented Stretch Zone Stabilization System to stabilize and isolate muscles during an assisted stretching session.

Today, Martin owns a 2,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in her hometown, Stuart, with five tables. And that’s not all. In total, she now owns 22 total Stretch Zones in three states—Florida, Texas and North Carolina—and has more than 125 employees. The seventeen stores she owns in-state span geographically from Orlando down to Fort Lauderdale and include storefronts in Lighthouse Point, Coconut Creek, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Wellington, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. She also manages 15 additional Stretch Zone locations, assisting fellow Stretch Zone franchisees with their respective journeys. Martin estimates that each of her locations sees between 50 to 60 clients per day.

As for how she’s accumulated so many successful locations, it’s been a mix of opening new spots and buying locations from existing Stretch Zone owners. She said she started by opening at a two-stores-per-year pace and, reflecting with a laugh, “because I had an obsession with even numbers.” Since 2020, she says, she has added 15 stores, the bulk being purchases of existing locations.

She credits the unique culture she’s built for their success. “Culture really is such an important part,” she says. “The majority of our studios are small, coming in at around 1,200 square feet. So, we want our clients to feel like they’re coming in on the red carpet and really getting the VIP treatment. Nothing makes me happier that to hear our clients’ laughter, stories and to hear how much we’re helping them. In many cases, it almost feels like a barbershop atmosphere.”

For her work with Stretch Zone and beyond, Martin recently took home two major accolades. First, she was named “Franchisee of the Year” by the International Franchise Association at the organization’s recent annual convention in Las Vegas. The IFA has more than 1,400 franchise brand members, Stretch Zone being among them. Martin was also recently honored with an Emerald Award from Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida for how she has brought innovation to her field and community.

Looking ahead, Martin hopes to have upwards of 40 to 50 total locations. She says she plans to partner with Stretch Zone owners in Detroit, with the goal of opening two stores in Michigan this summer. She also has her eyes on the Houston market.

“I learned a long time ago that you build wealth by treating people well,” she says. “I really do try to do that, with my clients, team and with corporate. It’s really pretty simple.”

Photo by Eduardo Schneider

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.