Just as some big box retailers are losing ground to online shopping, big box fitness centers are experiencing the same as it relates to members. The big gyms are finding competition from some nimble new competitors: boutique fitness studios.
You’ve probably seen them popping up in your neighborhood retail centers—locations with names like Pure Barre, CycleBar, Orange Theory Fitness and CorePower Yoga. These studios have found success with a business model that offers a specialized schedule of classes for a targeted customer who is looking for a more customized and motivating workout. For many landlords, the studios are proving to be a perfect fit.
Even as recently as 20 years ago many national retailers—such as Talbots, Jos. A. Banks, and Chico’s—would have insisted on a “no fitness uses” clause in their lease. Today those same retailers are welcoming the fitness studios with open arms. Also coveted by today’s retailers and power centers are Massage Envy and Hand and Stone Massage, spa services providers that once would have been turned away.
For a landlord, having boutique fitness studios as tenants has many benefits. The studios don’t require a large space; 1,600 to 4,000 square feet will do. They pay market rent and attract an upscale, health conscious (mostly) female client. The fitness studios usually have several classes going on at one time so they do require sufficient parking.
Boutique fitness studios play nicely with juice bars, coffee shops, spa services and other complementary fitness uses; you might find a yoga studio and a spin studio in the same center. Metro’s client, the Shoppes at English Village (Horsham, PA), is a case in point. Chico’s, Soma and Talbots have been joined by CorePower Yoga, the largest privately held chain of yoga studios in the US, and CycleBar, along with Massage Envy and Anthony Vince Nail Spa. Additionally, The Promenade at Litchfield (Litchfield, SC) will have a Pure Barre, Orange Theory Fitness and Club Pilates all in close proximity to each other in the center.
Bryn Mawr Village (Bryn Mawr, PA), another Metro Commercial client, chose Solidcore as their fitness use in order to complement, and not compete with, the nearby Fly Wheel, Soul Cycle and Focus Fitness studios.
Due to the fact that fitness studios attract a targeted upscale client on a regular basis there is a halo effect with other retailers within their centers. The demographic is appealing to gourmet markets, as well as jewelry stores, clothing boutiques and restaurants that offer healthy, fresh menus. In a retail landscape that is always shifting and changing, boutique fitness studios are proving that they can compete with the big boys.