Black Business Spotlight: Serial Chillers

Photo by Ashley Lauren Branden Johnson

Cryotherapy venture broadens access to ‘the cool new stuff’

Local entrepreneur Branden Johnson is the proud owner of Serial Chillers, a cryotherapy business located in Richfield, MN. The enterprise is geared toward helping individuals heal athletic injuries and focus on physical maintenance by utilizing cryotherapy.

Johnson explained that he was “born and raised” in St. Paul. Before he became an entrepreneur, “I was chasing my basketball dreams when I found it because the Dallas Mavericks was one of the first teams that started doing cryo [cryotherapy] and I was at a camp trying to make a team,” Johnson said. 

He added, “I was down with the Arkansas RimRockers, and that’s when I found cryo, and I tried it out for the first time in Dallas and this was the greatest thing ever.” Johnson felt the physical benefits of cryotherapy, which inspired him to invest in his own business. 

As a result, Johnson was compelled to conduct research about cryotherapy. He said, “I talked to the company that had the machines down there, and I was just asking to find out as much information as I could.” Then Johnson received an opportunity to invest in the machine. 

Johnson recalled, “I did a revenue share with them—so I put $15,000 down on the machine and then I had to pay them a percentage of revenue until it was paid off.” 

He elaborated, “So I paid $65,000 for the machine when it was all said and done.” 

Photo by Ashley Lauren “We use vaporized nitrogen to lower the skin’s temperature quickly and safely.”

In 2010, “When I first opened up, I opened up in the Medical Arts Building, downtown Minneapolis, and my first clients were the Timberwolves. I had J.J. Barea and Kevin Love—so those were my first clients,” Johnson said. He stayed in that location for two years. 

Venture capitalists swooped in on his business. They provided him with a substantial amount of money, but after four years they terminated the deal. Johnson was surprised, but he gracefully departed the business deal. “They were venture capitalists—I left,” Johnson said. 

In 2016, Johnson branched out on his own. “I saved up a little bit of money, and then I opened this place [Serial Chillers],” Johnson said. 

He added, “I did what I could—gutted the entire place and redid everything.” The business is inviting and geared toward enhancing the quality of life for everyone that walks through the doors. 

Physical maintenance is important, especially for athletes, Johnson said, “You have Floyd Mayweather that does this all this time. He’s still doing cryo, he’s still doing all of the health and wellness stuff, because he’s about taking care of his body.” 

A lot of athletes utilize cryotherapy as a way to rejuvenate their bodies. Johnson said, “It’s not easily accessed for everybody, so that’s why creating a space where people have the access to do it, it’s just them actually taking ownership of their own body.” 

Johnson emphasizes the importance of focusing on preventative care. With athletes, “Giving them a maintenance plan—saying, hey, you need to do this on a regular basis, is just a mind shift,” he said. 

“The high-end athletes get all of the cool new stuff. Then you go 15-20 years down the road and the FDA, CDC start to approve what they want to approve,” Johnson said.

“So you’ve got the elite athletes getting all the best care, taking care of their bodies, but they’re pushing so hard that there’s a very short life span. Our medical industry is based on us breaking down. That’s just how it’s set up.” 

Athletes push themselves, and it’s important for them to be mindful of the toll on their bodies. Johnson said, “High school athletes’ ACL and MCL surgery has gone up 400% in the last 10 years, and you’re telling me our training hasn’t gotten any better to stop that? 

“Let’s deal with the immune system,” Johnson said. “That’s the goal with what we’re doing here, just giving those tools and trying to make it easy enough for people just to accept their selves as something that can actually heal. Most of us think the body just goes down.” But, he says, that’s not the case. 

What happens when customers book a cryotherapy session? “In your three-to-four-minute session, we use vaporized nitrogen to lower the skin’s temperature quickly and safely. The body instantly starts to trigger natural regulatory functions, which leads to cell rejuvenation, an immune system boost, increased energy, and full-body healing,” according to the website. 

Johnson shared words of wisdom about his plight and advice for young upcoming entrepreneurs: “The future is bright. We’ve been through the worst of it already, so there’s nothing we can’t make it through. 

“Don’t be afraid to fail, and everything is perfect in the moment.”

Serial Chillers is located at 1415 E. 66th in Richfield, MN. For more information, visit www.serialchillers.com or call 612-345-5963.