Class Action

By Hilary Achauer

In Affiliation, Coaching

May 04, 2016

PDF Article

Affiliate owners share the various ways they’ve tailored the group-class model to create strong businesses that produce fitter clients.

Johnny DiGregorio opened CrossFit Pasadena in 2008. What started as a small community grew into a group of more than 240 members training in a 5,600-square-foot gym. Membership fees were about US$175 a month. By 2013, most classes had more than 30 people.

DiGregorio staffed each session with three coaches, but he still felt clients were falling through the cracks and weren’t getting the attention they deserved. He was overworked and unhappy. This was not what he dreamed of in 2007, when he quit his job and opened the affiliate.

DiGregorio hired a consultant to help him figure out how to fix things, and the consultant told him it sounded like he didn’t want to own that gym anymore. DiGregorio’s heart sank. He thought it was the end, but the consultant saw a different path.

“He said the beautiful thing about being a CrossFit affiliate owner is you have the freedom to make whatever business you want,” DiGregorio said.

Instead of the end, it was the beginning of something new. DiGregorio closed CrossFit Pasadena in 2014 and opened the 900-square-foot CrossFit Alhambra in Alhambra, California, with a membership cap of 130. An unlimited membership costs $250 and no class has more than eight people. Members receive highly individualized attention, and DiGregorio rediscovered what he loved about owning an affiliate.

At the same time, Brian Alexander of CrossFit Illumine outside Chicago, Illinois, hit his groove running a 300-plus-member, 17,000-square-foot gym. He feels connected with his members and has a profitable business.

Alexander and DiGregorio are running different versions of the same basic business—a CrossFit affiliate built on the group-class model. Here, successful affiliate owners talk about the various ways they’ve optimized the group model for business, community building, and the overall health and wellness of their members.

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