Smarte Carte Announces Acquisition of Massage Chair Businesses

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Tamara Phippen
Corporate Communications
Smarte Carte, Inc.
Telephone: 651-429-3614
Fax: 651-426-0927
E-mail: [email protected]


ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA (February 2008) — Smarte Carte, Inc. has expanded its role as the passenger and guest services leader at airports, shopping centers and entertainment venues by adding automated massage chairs to its list of service concessions. Smarte Carte announced today that it has successfully completed the acquisition of assets of two premier massage chair vending companies; Sit Back & Relax of Bedford, New Hampshire, and First Class Seats, Inc. of Racine, Wisconsin. Combined, the companies operate more than 4,200 vended massage chairs at more than 600 airports, shopping centers and other public venues in the U.S.

Ed Rudis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Smarte Carte, Inc., said, “We are delighted to complete the acquisition of Sit Back & Relax and First Class Seats, as we believe the vended massage chair business concept closely resembles our other businesses and the product is well suited for all the markets where we already do business. This is an excellent fit with our strategy to bring additional products and services to our existing customers.”

Founders of First Class Seats, Mark and Marsha Eberhardt, will join Smarte Carte and continue to be actively involved in the daily management of the business. “We have long believed that merging with Smarte Carte was the best possible outcome for First Class Seats,” said Mark Eberthardt. Sit Back & Relax owners, Kyle Nagel and Lori Lyon had a similar reaction to the acquisition, saying, “Smarte Carte’s existing presence in malls and airports are a perfect match for massage chair vending.”

Chairs from both companies provide an affordable alternative for back and neck massage therapy, offering customers a “deep tissue” three minute massage for just one dollar – or 15 minutes for $5.

Since the first vended luggage carts rolled into airports in 1967, Smarte Carte has built on its reputation as an innovator and self-service leader to introduce computerized electronic lockers to transportation centers, amusement parks, waterparks and ski resorts, as well as self-serve vended strollers to shopping malls. Most recently, Smarte Carte introduced air travelers to its self-serve rapid charging kiosk – the Charge Carte™ which provides charging cords for the most popular cell phones, smartphones and the iPod®.

About Smarte Carte, Inc.

At Smarte Carte, our job is to never stop looking ahead. As a business that began 40 years ago with a simple solution to help people move luggage through airports, Smarte Carte is now helping people with a growing list of services in a growing number of places – from transportation terminals to shopping centers and entertainment venues – around the globe. With its corporate headquarters in St. Paul, MN, privately held Smarte Carte currently has more than 1,300 employees managing its services at more than 1,000 locations on five continents.

For more information on Smarte Carte products and services, please visit

About Sit Back & Relax, LLC

Sit Back & Relax, based in Bedford, NH, began doing business in 2004 and is the largest provider of massage chair vending services in the U.S. with more than 3,400 vended massage chairs installed at more than 500 shopping centers, fitness centers and airports in the U.S.

About First Class Seats, Inc.

Based in Racine, WI, First Class Seats pioneered the massage chair vending industry in 1994 and currently offers its vended massage chair services at 27 airports and more than 100 other commercial locations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.