Looks like spending $30-plus for an hour (or a mere 45 minutes!) of sweating next to up to 60 other fitness enthusiasts will soon be commonplace beyond the New York City and Los Angeles areas. While high-end fitness chains like Equinox have been stepping up their game in terms of group fitness (check out the new cycling concept and precision running), it’s hard to compete with the quality of instruction, amenities, camaraderie and general ambiance created in many of the country’s most popular boutique fitness studios. While finding talent will be a major challenge as these studios grow with the advent of fitness class booking services like ClassPass and FitReserve, which make signing up easier and cheaper, it seems all but certain that boutique fitness will rule the wellness scene.
Here’s a look at the studios poised to rule the country…and beyond (rumor has it Barry’s Bootcamp is opening in Dubai).
SoulCycle, which is owned by Equinox, officially filed for an initial public offering a few months ago. Last year, the studio chain, arguably responsible for ushering in the era of stand-alone classes, had 2.9 million riders spread across 81,000 classes and made $112 million. The expansion goals are major. While it now operates about 40 studios, the plan is to grow its domestic footprint to at least 250 studios at a rate of about 10 to 15 new studios per year across the country.
Owned by Town Sports International, the only publicly traded gym (it also owns New York Sports Club), BFX is a gym-inspired boutique studio, meaning it’s very large and offers a myriad of classes. In addition to cycling, HITT, barre and yoga classes, it also has all kinds of body and performance measuring tech amenities and while it’s only been a year since the first location opened, two more have popped up and a fourth is already on its way.
While there may be no such thing as long and lean muscles, there’s no shortage of women (and some men!) looking to get that elusive ballerina body, which explains how Pure Barre now operates a whopping 300 studios in 42 states.
With 18 locations spread across New York City, the Hamptons, Los Angeles, Miami, London and more, Barry’s Bootcamp has been a force to be reckoned with for some time now, but it’s about to get a lot bigger. Private equity firm North Castle Partners, known for investing in healthy living brands like Red Door Spa, Jenny Craig and Naked Juice, recently announced an undisclosed but major investment in the franchise. Newly named CEO Joey Gonzalez (formerly the company’s COO) will be relocating to Los Angeles to build out the company’s headquarters and over the next 18 months, you can expect 5 or 6 locations in Los Angeles, 10 to 12 locations in New York City, new locations in the Bay Area and expansion into new cities domestically and internationally.
The franchise, founded five years ago, combines running, rowing and strength training for an integrated workout that also uses heart rate monitoring technology. While it wasn’t until 2015 that a location opened in Manhattan, the New York franchise owners “expect to open between 50 to 70 in our territory alone” and there are currently nearly 250 locations across the U.S. and Canada.