How Six Strangers Are United In Fitness Franchise Ownership
If you enjoy building relationships, are passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals, and want to own your own business, then the fitness franchise industry could hold the key to your having a fulfilling career.
While speaking recently with six fitness franchise owners, the Franchise Update team found they became owners via a variety of interesting paths and hailed from very different backgrounds. Some had worked in fitness, some hadn't, and others were simply passionate about fitness prior to investing in their businesses. Below are their stories.
- Steph Sklar-Mulcahy, Franchise Owner, CycleBar, Culver City, CA
Upon finding herself winded after walking up the many flights to her apartment in New York following a long day working in the television industry, Steph Sklar-Mulcahy decided to get in shape. She began cycling, started doing triathlons, and finally ended up competing in Iron Man events. Eventually she found she was working to support her sports habits and no longer finding joy in her career. While Googling cycling to see what related businesses existed, Steph came across CycleBar. After a half dozen calls with CycleBar corporate, she decided to go to their discovery day, where she interacted with a number of CycleBar's executives and support staff and learned more about the brand. Steph was so impressed with her experience, she decided to invest in a CycleBar location. Luckily for her, it turned out that a CycleBar franchisee who had already put all the plans in place for a location in Culver City, CA, only a few minutes from her house, had decided not to open it. Steph was offered the location and purchased it.
- Todd Martin, Franchise Owner, Club Pilates, Dallas/Fort Worth area, TX
Retail was Todd Martin's life until he sold his Harley-Davidson locations. At the time his wife, Debi, had been going to Pilates classes six to seven days a week after her chiropractor recommended them for her back issues. Upon finding that Pilates helped her back and enjoying the classes so much, Debi decided to look into buying a Pilates studio. She found and told Todd about Club Pilates. They decided to attend the brand's discovery day, where they met the management team whose energy, responsiveness, and experience they found impressive. Having come from a background in multi-unit business ownership, Todd and Debi decided to purchase 11 Club Pilates territories in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. They currently have four locations open and will be opening more.
- JD Christie, Franchise Owner, Fitness Together, Belleair Bluffs, FL
While in the Marine Corps, JD Christie spent most of his free time in the gym. During his last year in the Marines, he was charged with handling the fitness regimen for his entire Company and helped Marines who had fallen below Marine Corps fitness standards. From these experiences, JD realized he loved fitness and helping others get into the best shape possible. After leaving the Marines he became a personal trainer at Fitness Together, where his mother was a member. In 2012, JD had been working at the Fitness Together studio enjoying helping members achieve their fitness objectives for five years and wanted to own his own business. At the same time, the owner of the studio was ready to pursue other things, so JD purchased it from him. To JD it made perfect sense to do so. He was already training everybody and was confident he would be able to grow the business.
- Steve Stabile, Franchise Owner Blink Fitness, Greater Boston area
An active entrepreneur for nearly 30 years, Steve Stabile launched his own businesses - LocalTel Yellow Pages and Platinum Real Estate Investments - before entering the franchising world in 2005. After first selling his Fitness Together and then Elements Massage franchises, Steve wished to continue helping others live better, so began researching fitness franchises. Blink Fitness's business model of delivering a superior-quality gym experience at an affordable price and focus on how exercise makes you feel rather than how it makes you look, appealed to him so much he decided to purchase development rights to open Blink fitness locations in Massachusetts' Essex and Middlesex counties.
- Natalee Sticht, Franchise Owner, Anytime Fitness, Arrowhead, AZ
Natalee Sticht's father knew she wanted to leave the corporate world and go into business for herself in order to be able to spend more time with her family. So he told her about his friend's daughter who was achieving success as the owner of several Anytime Fitness franchise locations. Initially, Natalee wasn't interested in Anytime Fitness because she was a big box gym goer and didn't think people liked small gyms. However, the more she learned about the mission behind Anytime Fitness and its founders, the more interested she became in it. Eventually, after taking the time to speak with multiple Anytime Fitness franchisees and realizing she would enjoy helping people get to a healthier place, Natalee decided to take the plunge and invest in a location.
- Trey Jasenski, Franchise Owner, Retro Fitness, Albany, NY
Franchising was very familiar to Trey Jasenski since he worked for his father, who owns 30 Subway locations. But he knew that fitness, not food, was his passion. In fact, Trey was a professional soccer player in Germany and the United States for several years, which initially had him thinking he wanted to start his own gym training soccer players. After realizing the market would be small, Trey started researching fitness franchises, which combined his two areas of expertise - franchising and fitness. He came across Retro Fitness and liked that it could serve both those who are new to fitness as well as fitness aficionados via its differently priced packages and multiple service offerings. After meeting the management team, which he found to be very friendly and accessible, and learning more about the brand's expansion plan, Trey decided to invest in it. He purchased the rights to Retro Fitness's Albany, NY area, opened one location, and plans to open four more.
If you'd like to be the next fitness franchisee success story, start researching the variety of options that are available to you. There is one for every budget and interest.
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