Town Square Is Fourth Brand From Senior Helpers Boss
Town Square, a new franchise, features 1950s- and ‘60s-style storefronts including an auto shop within a 10,000-square-foot “town” to provide adults with “reminisce therapy” that takes them back to a golden time in their lives.
The first brand Peter Ross co-founded is Senior Helpers, ranked No. 2 among home healthcare providers for percentage sales gains in the upcoming Franchise Times Top 200+ list. He expects his fourth brand, Town Square, to pump up sales even more once it gets rolling.
“It’s kind of an interesting concept,” Ross said about Town Square in an interview this week. “It’s a 10,000-square-foot space that we convert into a 1950s and ‘60s working town. You’re going back in time,” he said because research shows “reminisce therapy” helps elderly patients who have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. People would come for the day for programming.
“You have all these storefronts. In Baltimore there’s a 1954 Belair parked in front of a garage. There’s a Rosie’s Diner, a Starlight movie theater, an art studio, a garden shop,” he said. “Each one of these things will be doing programming to create prompts and activities around them.” Ross does not use the term adult day care. “It’s demeaning to seniors,” he said.
“They’re going to go back into a life they’re used to in a reminiscent therapy program,” Ross explained. “Our fondest memories occur between ages 15 and 30,” when people get their first boyfriend or girlfriend, graduate high school, maybe get married and start a family.
A corporate location is nearing completion in Baltimore, and franchises are being sold around the country, including to a leading Senior Helpers franchisee in Philadelphia who is buying four. Town Square franchisees sign an agreement to use staffing from Senior Helpers, which is contracted at a slightly reduced rate.
A typical Town Square might use 15 program aides a day, working for eight hours each. “That’s $700,000 a year” in increased revenue at a Senior Helpers location, he estimates. “From a cost perspective, Town Square is about $12 an hour, vs. home care is double that,” he adds.
Ross’s partner in Town Square is the Glenner Foundation in San Diego, which develops adult day programming for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. They created the Town Square concept, and the chair of the board is a Senior Helpers franchisee in San Diego.
Ross didn’t at first expect Senior Helpers’ owners to be interested in Town Square. “It was really not meant to sell to Senior Helper owners, because it’s a different investment profile. It’s a different kind of model than a traditional home care franchise would be,” because home care franchises are typically low cost. Town Square, in a large, bricks and mortar location, will cost $1.2- to $1.7 million to get going.
He’s discovering sites are easier than expected to find given the slew of large retailers closing their doors. Rather than locating in industrial areas, as he expected he would have to, real estate is easy to come by in the heart of suburban locales. “The one in Baltimore is in a former Rite-Aid,” he said. “We were able to get really prime retail.”
Ross said the other two brands he franchised, both of them sold, are Doctors Express and Assist the Transition, now known as Care Patrol.