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Profile by Sanford aggressively expanding across US

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Kari Stattelman, right, of Sanford Profile trains Jess Martinez of Denver in scheduling appointments for the Profile franchise she will manage during a session Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor 2 / 7
This Profile office is seen Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, at 4950 13th Ave. S., Suite 16, Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor 3 / 7
New Profile franchise owner Missy Jones, seen Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Fargo, plans to open Profile outlets in the Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor4 / 7
New Profile franchise owner Tom Hegge of Dayton, Ohio, is seen Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor5 / 7
Elise Perry, seen Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, in Fargo, will manage a Profile by Sanford outlet in the North Shore area near Boston. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor6 / 7
Spencer Chipping7 / 7

FARGO — Profile by Sanford, a weight-loss subsidiary created by Sanford Health, is in the midst of an aggressive push to open franchises around the nation and — eventually — worldwide.

Profile, which opened its first store in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 2012, now has 79 locations around the U.S., with 369 planned to open in the next few years.

“We think we’ve got an opportunity for probably somewhere around 1,000 to 1,100 total locations in North America. Within five years, I would hope that we’re well on our way to at least coming close to having 75 percent of North America built out, maybe more,” Profile CEO Nate Malloy said Thursday, Dec. 6.

The decision to start franchising nationally was made a year ago, with the kickoff in January of this year, he said.

The plan also includes franchising internationally.

“We’re not quite ready to go outside of North America today, but we’re real close,” Malloy said.

The first countries will probably be those where Sanford has contacts as part of its World Clinic initiative, such as China, Australia and New Zealand, Malloy said.

But ultimately, Profile is “looking for countries where the program as we deliver it in the U.S. today translates well from both the food and the approach into the culture of those countries," he said.

Profile is a science-based, personalized nutrition, activity and lifestyle coaching program designed to help members lose weight and keep it off. Tracking technology, including a Smart Body Scale, monitors clients’ progress. Also, Profile Precise genetic testing provides members information on how their metabolisms work to further customize weight loss plans.

Beyond memberships, members also purchase Profile foods — healthy meals designed for the program.

Franchise owners must have a minimum net worth of $750,000 and $75,000 in capital beyond franchise fees, Malloy said.

“Most of our franchise owners far exceed those requirements, because they have aspirations to do not just one location, but on average, most are committing to doing four or five locations,” Malloy said.

Franchise owners must follow all Profile standards, from how to build out a store space, to food and programs provided. Profile also helps define the territories and determines how many locations can be developed to prevent oversaturation of markets.

Franchisees and managers in Fargo for training on how to run Profile outlets were gung-ho about the opportunities.

Tom Hegge, who grew up in Fargo, is developing three Profile locations in Dayton, Ohio.

Hegge spent six months researching 30 different franchise opportunities before deciding on investing in Profile. He likes having Sanford Health behind the program and the ways Profile can make communities healthier.

“The big thing for me is having Sanford behind it. They’re no strangers to rapid growth,” Hegge said.

Profile is also “something that you can get behind and feel good about selling to people, you know. ... It’s something that I’m happy to have my name behind,” Hegge said.

Missy Jones and her husband are opening Profile outlets in the Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C., areas.

“I’m a pharmacist by training. Seeing how diet impacts patients in their chronic disease state really got me excited about this opportunity. Also, the research that has gone behind the development … of their food products is very impressive,” Jones said.

“I was looking for investment opportunities. This was the first one that was presented to me. It clicked very well with my husband (also a pharmacist) and my backgrounds. So we started researching and investigating it and everything that Profile does is a very high quality. So we were sold basically from our first meeting,” Jones said.

Elise Perry is preparing to manage the January opening of a Profile outlet near Boston.

“Purpose in career and fulfillment in career is huge,” Perry said. “I’m also a nutritionist with a master’s degree in public health. So, being able to work with a company that encompasses a lifestyle change is great.”

Perry also likes Profile’s commitment to training, with two weeks of it in Fargo and more time planned in Atlanta for coaching certification.

“All of the coaches that do work for Profile receive over 100 hours of training,” Perry said.

In Utah, Spencer Chipping and his partners have opened three Profile outlets with another five planned in the next four years.

Chipping was an executive with Diamond Wireless, one of Verizon Wireless’s largest agents, before the company was sold last year. He knows how to grow a franchise. But health is also a major part of his life.

“I have a passion for health and wellness. I compete in competitive cycling. I am also a Type I diabetic,” Chipping said.

So far, he and his partners are happy with Profile.

At least 40 states have Profile stores open now or will have them in the near future, according to Sanford Health.

The far Northeast, including Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware and Rhode Island, haven’t had potential franchisees step up yet, but once the program takes off in New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, Malloy expects expansions by existing franchise owners, as well as other entrepreneurs drawn to the opportunity.

“Overall, we’re obviously extremely excited about the growth that we’re seeing,” Malloy said. “It all starts at the core of the mission of changing lives one relationship at a time.”

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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