Couple stretches therapy business - East Valley Tribune: Business

Couple stretches therapy business

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Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2007 6:49 am | Updated: 6:56 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

They began as a mom-andpop company eight years ago with a dozen or so walk-in clients mostly from the East Valley.

Their first year’s gross income was about $12,000.

Today, they serve more than 150 clients each week from throughout the Valley, including many doctor referrals and high-profile professional athletes who fly in for treatment from across the country as well as local sports figures.

Their gross annual income: $500,000.

Ann and Chris Frederick are husband-and-wife co-owners of a steadily growing physical therapy clinic, Stretch to Win, at the University Professional Plaza, Suite 4-N, 2525 S. Rural Road, Tempe.

“Our muscle stretch method is unique,” said Ann Frederick, 46, who founded Stretch to Win in a small office in 1996 and — after their matrimonial merger in 1999 — incorporated the firm with her then new husband.

Ann, who considers herself an East Valley native, is founding president who created the muscle-stretching technique and Chris, 49, a licensed physical therapist, is chief executive officer.

The couple, who reside in Tempe, are preparing to open more treatment centers in the Valley and, if all goes well, expand throughout Arizona and into other states.

“We’re not worried about competition because nobody else offers our system,” said Chris Frederick, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., who moved to Tempe in 1997.

The couple was introduced by an orthopedic surgeon and married the following year.

“We realized we both had many, many similarities,” said Chris, who officially changed his last name from Werner to Frederick.

Besides physical therapy, another talent they share is dancing.

Before moving to Tempe Chris was a member of the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. He was forced to quit because of a foot injury. He is also a martial arts instructor.

He was the former physical therapist for Ballet Arizona and the New York City Ballet. Ann began dancing when she was 4 at her mother’s former dance studio, Frederick’s School of Dance in Tempe, and later taught dancing at studios throughout the Valley.

Ann earned an degree in dance from Arizona State University, where, as a student, she was paid to provide her unique stretching techniques to ASU athletes and students.

She was an associate faculty member and a graduate assistant in Intercollegiate Athletics.

“I was given a scholarship and paid for applying my stretching techniques to ASU football players, wrestlers, golfers, swimmers, tennis and baseball players,” she said. “My techniques were part of my graduating thesis.”

Basically, the technique increases the space in the joints.

While there are no patents to prevent others from applying the method, the Fredericks thus far have heard of no other clinic, nationally or internationally, offering the stretching technique, they said. Their method is protected through Intellectual Property Rights.

Costs range from $85 to $130 for one hour of treatment and, despite doctor referrals, are not covered by health insurance plans, said Ann Frederick.

Most of their clients are referred by word-of-mouth or by physicians whose patients are in pain or have stiffness and lack flexibility primarily due to aging.

However, their customers also include children, teens, baby boomers as well as the elderly.

And scores of professional athletes such as members of the Arizona Cardinals, Diamondbacks and PGA golfers and other locals like Aaron Simpson, assistant coach of the ASU wrestling team.

“They helped me personally as a wrestler and as a coach,” said Simpson, who made the final rounds of the Olympic trials in 1996 and who captured four Arizona high school state wrestling championships while attending Antelope High School near Yuma.

Sanya Richards, a track star in the 200- and 400-meter races and winner of the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal received stretching from Ann Frederick and did her exercises prior to competition.

“I had no injuries (during the games) ... and it’s a tribute to (both) you guys,” Richards said.

Not all of their clients are high-profile athletes, however.

When she first started her company, Ann Frederick treated a 3-month-old baby who had suffered a stroke while in her mother’s womb.

“The stroke caused the baby’s arm to curl and, after she was born I was able to uncurl it by using my technique,” she said.

Another local client, Barb Guerra, 30, of Mesa appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” eight years ago. Her television appearance, however, was not because she is a famous athlete.

Guerra lost both arms when she was 2. Nevertheless, Guerra continues to exercise regularly and participate in fitness competitions.

“My body tends to be off balance,” said Guerra, whose right leg and foot is used instead of her missing limbs.

“They (Fredericks) help keep my muscles flexible so I have less pain.”

Why the name Stretch to Win?

“We pictured a runner as he or she crosses the finish line tape and it automatically created the image of what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Ann Frederick.

Ann and Chris Frederick

Ages: 46 and 49 respectively

Families: Ann’s parents — Dell and Gil Frederick; Chris’ — Marian and Helmet Werner

Home: Tempe

Occupations: Co-owners of Stretch to Win, a company based at 2525 S. Rural Road in the University Professional Plaza in Tempe. Ann Frederick, a graduate of Arizona State University who created a stretching program aimed at improving health, and her husband, Chris, a graduate of Hunter College in New York City and licensed physical therapist, work together and serve an average of 150 clients each week.

Business: Stretch to Win offers direct treatment to clients, including many doctor-referred patients, both young and old as well as professional athletes; the company also offers classes at their teaching school, Stretch to Win Institute, for trainees who become independent contractors. The company also sells a co-authored book sold at major bookstores and is available on www.amazon.com

Key achievements: The Fredericks incorporated Stretch to Win after Ann, then a student at ASU, was hired by the university to offer her then newly created stretching technique to students and athletes. After graduating with a degree in dance, she and Chris met and married. Ann worked as a Flexibility Specialist for the U.S. Olympic wrestling team in 1996 in Atlanta. She also has stretched the limbs of dozens of professional football, baseball and hockey players.

Philosophy: Be passionate about your work, stay true to your passion and listen to your inner voice — Ann and Chris Frederick

Information: (480) 394-0440 or www.stretchtowin.com

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