STRIDE, a new boutique fitness franchise that is reinventing the definition of a runner through treadmill-based interval training, announced it has signed two agreements which will bring five new studios to the greater Chicagoland area.
Backed by Xponential Fitness, the indoor running franchise seeks to create a welcoming, supportive space where anyone can walk or run.
Jeff Stokes, the president of STRIDE, said three key items set STRIDE apart from other boutiques. First, STRIDE has chosen Woodway treadmills as its premier partner — which he calls the “Cadillac” of treadmills.
Second, they created a specific certification program for trainers. “We have a certification program that is an indoor running coach certification,” he explained. “That does not exist in the industry right now. Outdoor running and personal training [certifications] exist, but there was nothing that really existed in this indoor run vertical, so we created it.”
Lastly, Stokes explained STRIDE stays true to running. They offer a run/jog/walk philosophy so anyone can go at their own pace. Additionally, they refer to everyone as runners rather than members or clients to help create a running culture.
Growth in the coming months is being driven by two franchise agreements, which will bring three studios to the suburbs of Chicago, and two to the downtown area.
“We could not think of a more perfect place to continue growing the STRIDE brand than Chicago, where there is a great deal of passion for fitness and health and a prominent running and walking community already established,” said Stokes. “With several months of cold weather every year and lots of busy intersections, conditions are not always ideal to run and walk outside in the city, so we’re excited to share the benefits of STRIDE’s inclusive indoor treadmill workouts with Chicagoans.”
What makes STRIDE a great franchising opportunity? For Stokes it’s simple. “Whether you are a runner or not, it has probably the strongest target audience of any boutique fitness brand out there,” explained Stokes. “One, because running is the oldest sport, and people know what running and walking are. And two, treadmills are the most popular fitness equipment that’s been on the market for the last 30 years.”
In addition to Chicago, STRIDE has recently announced several other franchise agreements in markets including Jacksonville, San Diego, Manhattan Beach, Santa Rosa and South Bay. Since launching franchising in late 2019, STRIDE has awarded over 41 franchise territories. The boutique plans to open 10 to 15 locations by the end of 2020 and has more expansion plans for 2021.
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