The most successful franchise massage company, and the largest employer of massage therapists, Massage Envy, announced yesterday that it has sold 70 franchises and opened 43 clinics since Jan. 1, according to a company press release.

The company also opened a clinic for the first time in South Dakota, making it the 44th state to house a Massage Envy location, and the company recently signed a multi-unit regional development agreement in Alaska.

The total number of Massage Envy clinics is now 699 in the U.S., making it the largest system of franchised massage clinics in the industry. In March Massage Envy announced plans to expand into Canada.

Massage Envy is the world’s largest employer of massage therapists, with more than 16,000 therapists providing more than 250,000 massages every week.

“To fuel growth, the company is looking for specific franchisee candidates who have the ability and the desire to learn and follow a system that ensures value and customer satisfaction,” the press release noted. “Qualified franchisee candidates should have business sales or management experience, but do not need to have a massage therapy or spa operations background. They also should possess a minimum net worth of $500,000 and liquid assets of at least $150,000.”

In January 2010, Massage Envy was acquired by Sentinel Capital Partners, a company involved in the development of franchises including Taco Bell, Castle Dental, Pizza Hut and Churches Chicken.

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