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IAM1885 – CEO Helps His Clients Enhance their Wellness through Stretching with Strap System

Podcast Interview with Tony Zaccario

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

The episode features Tony Zaccario, the President and CEO of Stretch Zone.

Stretch Zone, established in Miami Beach in 2004, is a leading practitioner-assisted stretching model in the U.S. They use a patented strapping system that expertly positions, stabilizes, and isolates muscles to improve the range of motion and quality of life for clients.

Key points discussed during the episode include:

Tony's journey as the CEO of Stretch Zone, from managing 4 to 5 locations to overseeing the expansion of the business into 135 locations across 22 states nationwide through franchising and partnership opportunities.

The primary service of Stretch Zone, which is a strapping system for body stretching, conceptualized as a lifestyle and wellness enhancer.

Tony's secret sauce for success which he identifies as good habits, maintaining a healthy body and mind, and promoting a wellness concept. He emphasizes that a positive mindset is critical.

The CEO hacks that Tony mentions include learning from Youtube, podcasts, audiobooks while working out.

According to Tony, patience is essential, especially when stepping into a new position. He encourages everyone not to be too hard on themselves.

Tony's definition of being a leader involves serving others and leading from the front. He believes that true leaders create other leaders.

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Transcription:

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Tony Zaccario Teaser 00:00

So a large majority of people with sciatica, low back pain, we live a very sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, many of us have done exactly what we're doing right now, just sitting at a computer far too long over the last year. And with that come a lot of imbalances.

That's what we aim to fix through our unique programs that we desire for individuals.

Intro 00:19

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the IAMCEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:46

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call the CB Nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month, we are focusing on operations. The systems will set you free. So think about systems, think about flow, sustainability, potentially working out in your morning routine, waking up early, e-commerce, different business models. Think of the operations in the models that basically set up the foundation to allow the creativity within organizations, but also to make sure the trains are running on time and things are going as they should.

Now, this is extremely important because we often can turn to the sexy parts of business and forget about the operations and how important that is. I really want to focus this month on this specific topic, so sit back and enjoy this special episode at the IAMCEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the IAMCEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Tony Zaccario of Stretch Zone. Tony, it's great to have you on the show.

Tony Zaccario 02:04

Gresham, thank you for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:06

Yeah. Super excited to have you on and hear about all the awesome things that you're doing. Before we do that, I want to read a little bit more about Tony so you can hear about some of those awesome things.

Tony is President and CEO of Stretch Zone the leading practitioner-assisted stretching model in the U. S. Stretch Zone was established in Miami Beach in 2004, utilizing a patent strapping system to expertly position, stabilize and isolate muscles to offer a full range of motion and improve quality of life for guests.

As CEO, Tony leads all expansion efforts for the brand, including managing franchise efforts and partnership opportunities. Under Tony's leadership, Stretch Zone has seen exponential year-over-year growth, boasting over 135 locations in 22 states nationwide.

Tony, super excited to have you on the show. I know you're doing awesome things. I'm glad you get a breath from me. Are you ready to speak to the IAMCEO community?

Tony Zaccario 02:54

I'm looking forward to it.

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Gresham Harkless 02:55

Awesome. Let's make it happen. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more on what I like to call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with all the awesome work you're doing.

Tony Zaccario 03:03

Yeah, first of all, again, thank you guys for having me on. I've actually been looking forward to this. I've actually dove in and listened to a lot of your podcast and so listen to a lot of your awesome guests and I'm honored and appreciate it to be able to come on here. And so my story began and aligns with Stretch Zone for me personally as CEO. I'm a young CEO, 28 years old, actually born and raised in Florida, had a little bit of background operations, running operations for a timber company. And really, I came across Jordan's story and Jordan Gold, who's the founder who created the padded strapping and stabilization system that we utilize in our stores, which really differentiates us in the market and the industry as a whole.

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Really what he did, he pioneered the stretching industry, especially from a retail model and from a from a consumer-based model. And so I stumbled across Jordan, I guess now has to be almost close to six years ago. At the time when I stumbled across him and his story and really the impact he was trying to have with clients all across the country, and at the time is just in South Florida and there were around four or five locations when I first found Stretch Zone. After seeing the service and experience and just hearing about the impact it had on people's day-to-day lives, it lightened a passion in me or lit a passion in me to say, this is something I wanna be a part of. That's when I joined on.

Back then we had about four or five locations, helped design really the business model around the stretches we like to say, and then led into the franchising model, which started in 2017, late 2017. And today, I'm proud to say that we have actually 146 locations. We're opening about three a week currently, and so we're growing at a substantial pace, not a single-store failure. And really what we're focused on is just making sure that we find franchisees that share our core values and share what we're trying to do in the community as a whole. We think as an organization, that's what's most important, and that's what resonates with the clients, because ultimately the stretch itself and the patent stabilization system and the stretching methodology and all these other components to our product and the service that we offer, it comes from a very soulful place.

It really started with Jordan's grandfather, and we want to make sure that we maintain that soul. And that we also maintain that a little bit of gratitude that we can spread throughout communities nationwide.

Gresham Harkless 05:14

Yeah, that makes so much sense. So, could you take us through a little bit more about what you're doing, how you're serving your clients and how you're making your impact.

Tony Zaccario 05:22

Yeah, so essentially what Stretch Zone is and the actual service that we're talking about is practitioner-assisted stretching. So essentially what happens is we have a patent stabilization system where clients come in, they lay on a table, we do all the work, you get all the benefits. It really is just that simple. I always joke around because they don't take my word for it. Go try it for yourself, which is why we offer the first stretch free across the country. So people can experience it firsthand. The whole idea is understanding that stretching as a whole is really a lifestyle enhancer, and it really is a wellness enhancer.

I think more and more people are coming around that realization. Stretching is not new by any means. Most people just don't do it because either, they don't know how to, which is a large majority of people, or, they're a little lazy, guilty as charged. And so what we're able to do is package it and using the intellectual property, using the patented techniques is we're able to then package that and then apply it to every individual across the spectrum. And the fact is our biggest motivator is understanding that, hey, stretching can benefit anyone. It's more so our job and with our trained practitioners, making sure that, hey, we're finding and designing a program specific to your needs and your goals. That can be a wide variety of things that a lot of clientele that come in the way you make an impact.

Yeah, some of it is activity-related. So there's a lot of active individuals. So golfers, runners come in that may want injury prevention, all that normal things that might pop in your head, but also a large majority of people with sciatica, low back pain. We live a very sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, many of us have done exactly what we're doing right now, just sitting at a computer far too long over the last year. With that comes a lot of imbalances, and that's what we aim to fix, through our unique programs that we desire for individuals.

Gresham Harkless 07:10

Yeah, that makes so much sense. Like you said, whether you're an athlete or you're getting ready for your next 10K or whatever it might be, or you're training for whatever or somebody that is going on the day to day because I feel like it's one of those, I'm gonna use the word again, foundational elements that sometimes we over forget and we sometimes don't realize the impact until we're not in sometimes the best place.

Tony Zaccario 07:28

And the stretch on methodology is something where stretching as a whole can get you there to just enhance the life and maybe do what you once could do.

Gresham Harkless 07:37

I love that. You all have been able to work and create something that helps again to empower and help people to live the lives that they ultimately want to live.

Awesome. So, you might have already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. This could be for yourself personally, the business or a combination of both. But what do you feel sets your part and makes you unique?

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Tony Zaccario 07:54

I think the company. We talked about the major differentiators, obviously the strapping system and the nationally recognized training program, which are people go through good habits. So I'm big on working out and being disciplined, healthy body, healthy mind, obviously in a wellness concept and something like Stretch Zone. So, I make sure I wake up 4:30 most mornings. I'm not gonna try to kill myself and say all mornings, but most mornings and work out. I think from a CEO perspective that helps you clear mind, it's one of the very, very few times of the day where your phone's not going off. I think those moments of clarity are really important, especially as a leader of any organization or CEO or leader of your department, whatever it might be, because any kind of operational element, you always get bogged down in the weeds.

There's always fires put out and there's always things going on during the day. And I'm big on plan your work and work your plan. But often plans go awry and it's your job to be the firefighter. So if you don't allow or really allocate that free time to let your mind go and educate yourself, wherever it might be, you're not going to be able to be proactive in your thought, and you're not in your thought patterns. You're not going to be able to be proactive and planning strategically for the organization. And then the happiness piece is more so it's with some positivity, and there's where you're, that's aligned with what you're saying. I think positivity and positive mindset are critical.

I always joke in the organization with my team and there's a general broad stroke and might be a little bit of ride. But I think a lot of people confuse professional success with happiness. And so that's why I always like to when I was trying to relay was a little off the path and probably what you're asking, but I always like to cave at that. Because I don't want people think that Hey, the only way I am going to be happy, aka and they confused it to or successful by being and getting up to a CEO. But for those that want to be a CEO and truly find happiness in it, and yes, there are those disciplines that you should follow tackling the morning, winning the morning, whatever you want to call it.

I think the other big thing and tool that I've used is, so you referenced Tony Robbins. I'm not dogmatic about any individual nor do I think you should. I think for leaders, it's important to find your style. I think nobody should be a comprehensive read, so to speak, meaning Tony Robbins a lot of respect for Gary Vaynerchuk and a lot of things that he did . But still for me as my own person is I'm going to take tidbits and I'm going to listen. So, I'm big on listening to podcasts. YouTube is widely available. So even when working out, that's a great time where I like to listen to Ted talks, audio books. That's why I listen to a few of your episodes and listen to you and found you as well as working out and actually listening to it.

That's a good way to because these people have been successful in what they do and they know some tidbits. So it's taking a little bit of everything that you like and don't like and also challenging yourself to listen to different perspectives.

Gresham Harkless 10:42

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So you might have already touched on this as well, but I want to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a little bit more of a word of wisdom or piece of advice. It might be something if you were to hop into a time machine, you would tell your younger business self.

Tony Zaccario 10:55

I think this is a big one. It's just patience in general. And we're just selling that. Yeah my team will probably laugh when they hear this. I would like to think I'm the most patient person in the world. And then along with my wife would probably strongly disagree. And by the way, a lot of times I think impatience can be a strength too, because it pushes urgency and stuff like that up. But patience with your own journey is, I think, important.

And just for anyone that's in a new position, whether maybe it is a VP and you get a great opportunity in organization, basically, the advice I would give is just don't be too hard on yourself and realize that everyone's going to be critical, right? There's always going to be critics out there and watching you and listening for a CEO position, rightfully so. And that their job to hold me accountable as well and the team to hold me accountable. But yeah, everyone's got to do it for the first time. That's the only way you learn.

Gresham Harkless 11:46

Yeah, I love that. And it's so funny because this past year, even the year before, I should say, with the pandemic, one of the things I always said is remind myself to give myself grace because I think so many times we could be hard on ourselves and we can listen to the noise and people saying this, that, or the third. But giving yourself grace as best as you can and understanding that a lot of times, even if the job is exactly the same, I think what we learned from the last year or two years, things are completely different.

Even the playbook that every everybody executed, it's completely different now. So I think giving yourself grace to understand that you have that mission, you have that spirit and you continue to try to make the best decisions that you can.

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Tony Zaccario 12:22

Yeah. And I think it definitely applies in leadership but in anything you do and anyone's role or anything in life and obviously with COVID completely thrown a wrench and everything, nothing like COVID has ever, ever heard, some extent and the impact it's had. I think the giving yourself grace is a phenomenal way to put it. I think especially for leadership roles or in life in general is when you recognize that, hey, this is your first time and everyone has to do it for the first time is also insinuating. There is no defined right way to do it.

There is no defined right way to live life or to be a leader or be department head or start a podcast or whatever might be You know, you have to figure it out. There are a lot of ways to be successful to podcast, there are a lot of ways to be successful in life, there's a lot of ways to be a successful CEO. There's not one defined way.

Gresham Harkless 13:15

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. And just understanding like the quote and quote freedom, opportunity that we have, no matter what title or role that we have in order to make that impact that we ultimately have.

So I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show. So, Tony, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Tony Zaccario 13:35

Being a CEO is really just being a leader and leading from the front. Part of being a leader is also part of the serving and it's serving the team around you. So a lot of regards facilitator and the biggest thing is I'm a big believer. I said earlier leaders create leaders, and so it's all encompassing. You really are the orchestrator that makes this whole show go on. It's helping provide that vision. It's also helping provide that motivation. And when you can foster other leaders around you, you create this environment of accountability.

And it's funny because, when you're at Stretch Zone, we are our own biggest critics. When something goes awry, but this is what happens when you create a good level of accountability, good level leadership, also in an honest and transparent environment. I think that starts at the top with being a solid leader. So, like, whenever I hear that question, that's the first thing that goes to my head.

Gresham Harkless 14:26

Yeah, absolutely. No, I love that definition that perspective. You can definitely hear it and all the growth and the opportunity excellence that you all have had. But I think like you said, I agree to the best leaders are those that are able to create other leaders and realize that we all have our gifts, our talents and our abilities and to be able to empower somebody to have that shine.

And of course, support that mission is one of the most impactful and empowering things that you could do as a as a CEO, entrepreneur, business owner, whatever title we might give ourselves.

Tony Zaccario 14:52

Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 14:52

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Tony, truly appreciate that definition. I, of course, appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best I can get ahold of you and your team and find about all the awesome things that you all are doing.

Tony Zaccario 15:08

Yeah, I mean, the best way to get a hold of me is either, LinkedIn is a phenomenal platform. You can find me there. As far as with the organization and we're doing exciting things, we just launched a charitable arm. The organization gives them as a way to give back to the communities have been so gracious to us. And I will say for Stretch Zone is you can guarantee yourself that is coming to a theater near you soon with the amount of growth that we're having, the amount of franchisees are coming on board.

And so if you want to experience and really see the life changing results firsthand go try a stretch for free and go online to stretchzone.com and look for location nearest you because, truly don't take my word for it. Of course, I'm gonna say it's amazing, but I think it's important for those listening to try it firsthand and really see the benefits they can have on their life.

Gresham Harkless 15:50

Yes, absolutely. And to make it even easier, we're going to have links and information that shown us as well too so that everybody can get a hold of you, of course come to see that awesome show as well to that's going to be coming to a theater near us.

So truly appreciate you my friend for talking to us about like how important it is to make that impact and how we're able to do that and how, of course, you all are doing that as well, too. I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Tony Zaccario 16:10

Thank you, Gresham. I appreciate it.

Outro 16:11

Thank you for listening to the IAMCEO Podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co. IAMCEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Want to level up your business even more? Read blogs, listen to podcasts, and watch videos@cbnation.co. Also, check out our IAMCEO Facebook group. This has been the IAMCEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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