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1996 Inc. 500 #316

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Allen Ronk, Secure Communication Systems

The Concept: Massages for the masses--a franchiser of upscale massage-therapy centers in health clubs, airports, and other locations.

The Rationale: Overly stressed, upwardly mobile professionals need to relax. But massage hasn't reached critical mass, because the masses tend to be so critical of it: either they recoil at the back-alley connotations, or they find the price inflexibly high. A national chain with a brand-name approach could rub folks the right way by both legitimizing massage therapy and cutting the average price of a one-hour massage in half.

Reality Check: What if people like the back-alley connotations?