A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:

Jenni Severson Massage Retreat and Spa

Title: Director of operations

Age: 30

Jenni Severson is working to support Massage Retreat and Spa's plans to grow through franchising with her recent promotion as the company's director of operations.

The company opened seven Twin Cities metro area locations since 2007 and plans 12 more in the next three years, Severson said.

"We're a very training-, coaching- and development-based company and by developing our employees to be successful we're able to continue to grow our business," Severson said.

Severson is developing processes to support the company's growth and make sure franchisees get what they need.

The company sold its first franchise earlier this year in Maple Grove, Severson said. The company manages that location. Lee Oberg, founder and chief executive, is looking for additional owners, whose locations would operate as traditional franchises or under company management in the case of absentee ownership.

Massage Retreat and Spa operates on a membership model that offers benefits both to clients and potential owners.

Clients pay monthly membership dues that include a one-hour massage or facial treatment and discounts on other services, which include skin care and waxing, she said. For owners, the model boosts member retention and generates recurring revenue.

"We work to make sure that operating the business is very simple, and ensure that the focus can remain on the customer," Severson said.

She joined Massage Retreat and Spa in 2008, rising from front desk manager to spa manager, area manager and director of sales before becoming director of operations.

Q: What's driving the company's expansion plans?

A: We feel ready at this time, we understand the steps that we need to take to ensure that he franchisee can operate successfully based on our experience over the last eight years.

Q: What prompted you to join the company?

A: The industry is easy to be passionate about. We're talking about health and wellness, massage and skin health. The business was always set up for growth. To be able to be part of something from the very beginning and be involved in that growth with a local business was extremely attractive.

Q: How has your experience at all levels of the company benefited you?

A: Making sure that through every step of my progression, being able to stay focused on the customers and the employees to ensure that we're doing everything in our business revolves around them.

Todd Nelson