Tom Grady is leading growth of his company’s Profile by Sanford stores into new markets while adapting the weight-loss and lifestyle coaching service to a virtual model for social distancing.

Grady is a partner in MSP Wellness and operator of the investment group’s 17 Profile by Sanford franchise locations. Eight are in the Twin Cities with one each in Waite Park and Mankato.

MSP Wellness, which opened its first Profile by Sanford in November 2017, plans to add up to a dozen more franchise locations in the next six months, Grady said. MSP Wellness has 115 employees.

Grady also is a vice president with K2 Capital Group, an Eden Prairie-based equipment financing company. Four of MSP Wellness’ five investors are from K2 Capital, Grady said.

K2 Capital has a long-standing relationship with Sanford Health, the Sioux Falls, S.D.,-based health care system which founded Profile by Sanford in 2012 and has more than 150 owned and franchised Profile locations.

Grady, who has more than two decades of experience in finance and commercial banking, said his work with Profile “is the most fun I’ve had in any business venture that I’ve ever done.

“I was in New York. I worked on Wall Street and that was fantastic. But these people that work with us at Profile have a higher mission.”

Grady’s recent focus has been on adapting operations to a virtual model in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Coaches now work from home and check in with members by phone or video conference calls.

With Profile by Sanford stores closed, members can opt for curbside pickup or shipment to their home of Profile food, which they primarily eat during the first stage of the program.

MSP Wellness last week launched an activity app, developed with Adapt Fitness, that offers Profile members customized workout routines, Grady said.

Grady has added “smart science” technology to Profile stores, including the Styku 3-D body scanner that takes measurements and charts changes in fat and muscle over time.

He’s also brought in the AngioDefender, a screening tool and algorithm developed by Everist Health that measures cardiovascular health and calculates a member’s vascular age. It’s exclusive to Profile in the United States.

Q: How do you compete against celebrity-endorsed weight-loss plans?

A: We are preaching education and turning healthy habits into permanent lifestyle choices and sustainability. What the industry is about now is, “Let’s get you to lose weight but let’s not think about three years from now.” We’re the long game. We’re not here for the short-term fix.

Q: What your initial growth strategy?

A: We opened those [Twin Cities locations] in 15 months. We figured if it’s going to work in Eden Prairie, it’s going to work in Woodbury, it’s going to work in Eagan. We went super quick and had our growing pains because we went so quickly. But we’re glad we did because now we’ve got established teams, established stores and we get to share a lot of resources between marketing, training, coaches and managers.

Q: What is driving your continued expansion?

A: The franchisees are very successful entrepreneurs. A lot of the franchisees, they want to make money but they are all in with this mission of providing a solution for the epidemic of obesity. They see it as an opportunity to have a nice quality mission and have a profitable business.

 

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is todd_nelson@mac.com.