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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 02-19-2007, 08:56 AM   #1
Bill Russell
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I'm looking for feedback on considering 'problem locations' for CF facilities.

Every neighborhood seems to have that one house that sells more often than the others, and every town seems to have one or two commercial locations where businesses can never stay open very long.

As a business owner, I would tend to stay away from these apparent bad locations, regardless of the price. However, I am tempted (low price) by a few of these locations since Crossfit affiliates do not require prime spots.

One building is just downright ugly from the curb, but the location is fantastic. Another building looks cool, in the center of town, but the traffic patterns make it a pain in the butt to pull into(the primary reason why no retail business has been able to make it work). Then there's another at the end of town in a low traffic area, but everyone knows exactly where it is when you tell them the intersecting streets.

I'd appreciate comments for/against opting for a bad location vs. paying more for more attractive/convenient properties. Thanks!

Bill Russell
Future CrossFit Cleveland Affiliate :stirthepot:

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Old 02-19-2007, 07:49 PM   #2
Steve Liberati
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I think CrossFitters care a great deal more about health and fitness than your typical gym-goer at your typical globogym. I'd bet most CrossFitters are more loyal and more willing to drive farther to workout. This means lower rent spots even in a remote locations, as long as it satisfies their fix (the WOD, community, etc) will not matter much. If the location is close and convenient just all the better - extra bonus!

But for the most part, people who care are happy to shlep. It's all about the experience at the facility. The trip there matters little.

Just look at Trader Joe's. They run of a similar model. If it works for them, I'm sure it will work for us.
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Old 02-19-2007, 09:14 PM   #3
Lincoln Brigham
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My thought is that many clients are going to balk at stuff like bear crawls, sled drags, ball slams, etc. in a high-visibility location. There is some advantage to quieter or more remote locations.
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Old 02-20-2007, 07:23 AM   #4
Mike ODonnell
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Remember that you are not a retail or globo gym...so you are not looking for traffic and 1000s of people. What you want is a smaller consistent group of people who will spread your business via word of mouth. So yes people will drive a little out of their way to go train somewhere like they can not train anywhere else. I would suggest making sure you have the numbers to at least cover your business expenses month to month first...otherwise you don't want to put yourself in a negative financial hole.
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:44 AM   #5
Bill Russell
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Mike,

We are slowly buying equipment so we don't have as big of an outlay when we do open later this year. The plan is to have 10-12 "charter members" the day we open to cover costs, then add more equipment as additional revenue comes in.

We may have a location to use on a part-time basis, but I'd only have early A.M. hours available. I'm not sure I want to start in someone else's facility, but it seems to be a common way for many affiliates to get off the ground.
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:58 AM   #6
Tom Brose
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Bill, shoot me some info on where you are looking. Being from Cleveland, and fairly up on running a Crossfit group, I MAY be of some help. If you want, write me at tombrose@crossfitdc.com
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Old 02-20-2007, 09:59 AM   #7
Mike ODonnell
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I'd say nothing wrong with part time at someone else's facility....people will follow you when you move...and who knows..might pick up some more people from the place you are at.
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Old 02-20-2007, 10:06 AM   #8
Peter Howarth
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If its functional, the ugly building in great location would be the one for me.
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Old 03-10-2007, 05:39 AM   #9
Jennifer Conlin
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Yes, Ugly building great local is the one. As much as I would like to say open it and they will come...well that is not always the case. You do want small groups and a strong core group. Yet, being in a good location will pay your overhead and you need to bealbe to do that to continue. Here in Metro DC it's all about location.
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Old 03-14-2007, 09:22 AM   #10
Bill Russell
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Thanks Jenn. I'll have a decent core group before we open our own location, maybe 12-15 regulars. My main focus will be on the Executive demographic, that's why I'm a bit concerned about the 'ugly' building. The feedback I'm getting is pretty positive though, people just want an easy place to get to where someone will whip them into shape!
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