PALO ALTO (KPIX 5) – Brick and mortar stores have been struggling for years, but there is one kind of business that isn’t threatened by the internet. Group fitness studios are fast expanding in the Bay Area.
In January, Barry’s Bootcamp, which offers a high-intensity interval workout that mixes running and weights, opened two new locations in Burlingame and Palo Alto.
The company first arrived in San Francisco in 2014. A Castro location opens next month, followed by one at San Jose’s Santana Row. And plans are in the works for the East Bay and Marin.
“People are spending a lot more money on their health and wellness right now. And people are choosing to do that as their social outlet too. So I think a lot of people you mentioned — Millennials — are taking the time right now to really go to the fitness club and really meet their friends and hang out,” said Barry’s Bootcamp partner Adam Shane.
Managing partner Adam Shane says the company is also investing a lot. Each location costs up to $3 million to build. But in the Bay Area, there are a lot of people willing to pay a premium. Each class costs $35, which is close to the highest rates in the country.
Nikki Shah has been going to Barry’s about three times a week for more than four years.
“I think it is a community thing, right?” said Shah. “It is something very different to be sprinting with the person next to you, and it pushes you well past what you’re going to do by yourself.”
Matt Holmes works with fitness tenants as the founder of brokerage Retail West. He says right now group fitness studios occupy up to 40 percent of leasing spaces in the Bay Area. 10 years ago, it was a different story.
“Everything had to be big. It was like the Texas mentality: 24 Hour Fitness, 50,000 [square] feet. Now it’s, ‘Hey, let’s take that component of 24 Hour Hitness and let’s do a Pilates portion’ or, ‘Let’s do a spinning portion of it.’ So it’s much more of a specialized breakdown,” said Holmes.
Take East Bay-based X-CORE. It is the only Bay Area studio to offer classes using the VersaClimber. It also offers high-intensity Pilates classes and has plans to expand into San Francisco.
Newly opened boxing-inspired Rumble has plans to add more studios in Palo Alto, the Castro, SoMa and the Marina this year as well.
“There’s also the dynamic of having people that are always on camera, everyone’s doing selfies, everyone’s posting, everyone wants to look better,” said Holmes.