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SCORE Awards: Outstanding Franchise as a Small Business

LOUISVILLE, Ky. ( TheStreet) -- Terri Paradise and Marcia Connelley opened their first Massage Envy location in Middletown, Kentucky in June 2007.

Their franchise journey started off rocky. Paradise admits that while the partners had experience managing people and processes, they were less familiar with all the moving parts of running a business. One example was marketing.

With a little guidance from SCORE, the partners were able to grow the business and increase staff to 65 employees between two locations.

"We did not do our marketing well and agreed to anything that walked into our door," Paradise says. "We spent a lot of money on TV ads, we did radio ads, we did any kind of Yellow Pages and White Pages and magazines in Louisville. When SCORE came in, they asked what works. We weren't really sure."

Last year the franchise raked in $1.76 million in revenue. Paradise is expecting to hit the $2 million revenue mark by the end of 2012. And that's just for its main location. The duo opened a second location in February of this year (and yes it is hiring). Paradise expects that location to hit roughly $350,000 in revenue this year.

Paradise and Connelley aren't done with their expansion plans. Next month, the two will take on a relatively new franchise concept and open a European Wax Center right next door to the Massage Envy main location.

"We believe it's very complementary," Paradise says.

Winning SCORE's first-ever Outstanding Franchise as a Small Business award (SCORE is the Small Business Administration's partner organization designed to mentor entrepreneurs), Massage Envy - Middletown is the fourth of seven 2012 winners to be profiled by TheStreet. SCORE celebrated the winners at its fourth annual awards gala in New Orleans on August 16.

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A conversation TheStreet had with Massage Envy owner Terri Paradise follows.

What is Massage Envy?

Paradise: Massage Envy and Massage Envy Spa was created in Arizona by a gentleman who actually didn't plan on franchising. He wanted to cater to the average person where they could get massage or stress relief at a reasonable price and at reasonable times throughout the day, at night and on weekends. It was kind of a brand new concept. He realized that you needed massages monthly really to do its work.

We have serviced CEOs in Louisville. We have serviced pro athletes. We have serviced Walmart greeters. We do seniors. We started with child athletes. About 55% of our business is female -- that makes 45% male, which is nice. We try to work with different agencies. We give teachers discounts to come in.