Article by Mario Toneguzzi
Club Pilates - the largest network of Pilates studios - is growing at an astronomical rate and is planning to open 100 locations in Canada over the next few years.
The company, which was born in 2007 in San Diego, California, was recognized by Inc. Magazine in 2018 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States, coming in at 95th on the magazine’s top 5,000 list.
Shaun Grove, President of Club Pilates Franchise LLC, told Retail Insider the company has a total of 615 studios open across the United States and Canada and about 900 territories sold.
“We’ve just opened our first studio in Tokyo, Japan. We’ve got a number of other international deals that are starting to roll out. We’re in 10 countries currently. Those being Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Germany, and Spain as well as Canada and the U.S.
“In Canada, we have six locations opened and another three that will be opening before the end of the year,” said Grove, adding that the first location was in Vancouver about two years ago.
The other locations in Canada include two in Calgary, with a third opening in December, three in the Vancouver area, one in Waterloo and a few others opening in the Ontario and Toronto area market before the end of the year.
“We look at Canada really as an extension of the U.S. All of our other international deals are master franchise relationships which means essentially we’re finding a partner in that country in supporting them and training them to become us in that country and they will sell franchises and be the franchisor essentially for that country,” said Grove.
“Canada we’re treating it a little bit differently just because of the proximity and the relationship between the countries that we’re able to actually function as a franchisor in the U.S. with Canadian franchisees. So we’re really looking at developing Canada in the same way that we developed the U.S. focusing on the major markets across the country and just finding the best franchisees that we can in those countries most primarily multi-unit operators but several single-unit operators as well.
“It’s not too dissimilar from what we experienced in the U.S. where we had some great initial growth but then it took some studios getting open and being able to validate the concept before others kind of entered the market and really started getting on board. That’s what we really found in Vancouver. We got the first studio open and everybody was kind of a little bit hesitant because they didn’t want to be the first to market in this U.S. concept. How’s it going to work in Canada? And our first studio in Vancouver did incredibly well - still doing amazing. And prompted another entrant into that Vancouver market who opened one studio and again did incredibly well. He just came back back and bought three more territories.”
With numerous fitness-related concepts in the market, Grove said the tradition based Pilates classes sets it apart from other boutique fitness that are out there.
“When you look at the fitness landscape, you really have to separate it between boutique fitness and sort of big box fitness. You subcategorize that to the boutique fitness market and there’s a lot of differentiation between concepts within that boutique fitness market,” said Grove.
“For us, we really stand out because there’s nobody else out there on the franchise level doing what we’re doing with traditional Pilates. Pilates in general is a very low impact full body workout that moves the body through different planes of motion and corrects imbalances in the body. So there’s a lot of very positive benefits that you get from Pilates in addition to the physical fitness aspect of it. And I think that’s what really sets us apart as well in terms of what we do in the studio. It’s a great low impact physical activity you can do but it also helps to transform and repair and rehabilitate the body. It’s something that everybody can benefit from whether you’re 15 years old or 95 years old you can get the same benefits out of a Pilates workout.”
Don Gregor of Aurora Realty Consultants is the national account representative for real estate pertaining to Xponential Fitness, a company which includes brands Club Pilates, The Row House, and Cycle Bar in Canada.
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