Retro Fitness COO Todd Scartozzi share insight into Retro Fitness’ future.
Founded in 2004, Retro Fitness has grown to 175 health clubs across the U.S. Recently, the brand has announced several initiatives aimed at fueling growth and supporting communities, including Project LIFT and an employee wellness team building program.
Here, Retro Fitness COO Todd Scartozzi shares additional insight into each project and where the fitness brand is headed.
What is the latest on Project LIFT? How many clubs have you opened, and what has been the response?
We are moving forward with our commitment to opening 500 health clubs in 50 Black and Brown communities over the next five years. With our partner James Collins, a managing partner with Eastwood Capital Partners and through the BlackRock, Impact Opportunities Fund, we are working diligently towards the official openings of our first 80 locations. Not only did their investment give us our largest investment deal in the history of the company, but it also gave us resounding support that our mission of making an impact in Black and Brown communities is needed and welcomed. The response we’ve received from local communities, our franchisees and more since announcing Project LIFT has been so positive. We feel very welcomed and are fondly looking forward to opening these new health clubs with our new partners.
Outside of Project LIFT, what are your growth goals for Retro Fitness over the next few years?
Outside of Project LIFT, we are equally excited about our rapidly expanding landscape. With 175 health clubs open or in development across the country, we’re given the platform to strengthen and double down on our ongoing commitment of providing exercise, health and fitness to our members.
Additionally, we have a few announcements regarding new programs and initiatives that we’re planning to announce soon, which showcase our dedication to innovating and constantly expanding our membership offerings and benefits. Our top priority is our members. We want to support them and their mental wellness through a variety of ways with self-development tools, nutritional content and so much more.
What do you feel are the top trends in the fitness industry right now?
One top trend that is very prevalent in today’s fitness world is recognizing that mental health is equally as important as physical health. It’s a known fact mental health issues have recently skyrocketed as a result of lingering pandemic effects, and Retro Fitness prioritizes our members’ mental health in many ways. Our latest way to support members is through our new partnership with The Art of Living, where self-help techniques and self-development tools created by world-renowned Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are available to all such as meditation, breathing techniques and more.
Another fitness industry trend I’ve been seeing is the prioritization of community involvement and engagement. Since its inception in 2004, our primary focus has been connecting with our members on a community level. We weren’t founded just to be a leader in the health club industry, but to also build a mission-driven company that has a purpose and gives back to the people and communities in which our clubs are in. Project LIFT is a great complement to that vision and our mission as we have recognized the positive impact we could bring by opening each of these new locations.
In addition to mental health, we find there are many more women using our free weights area instead of the traditional group classes and cardio equipment. That being a trend, we are making a commitment to adding spaces for women to lift that reflect their needs.
What can you tell me about the Retro Fitness Team Building Program, and why it’s so relevant post-COVID as people return to in-office work?
The Retro Fitness Team Building Program was created in partnership with United States Army Special Forces veterans, “Green Berets,” to assist human resource departments to rebuild as businesses reopen and employees return to the office. Our goal with this program is to establish a strong sense of collaboration, productivity, trust and respect among employees, a requirement for any successful business.
Returning to the office is a hot topic globally, and through the Retro Fitness Team Building Program, companies are able to make that transition together, creating a team that is stronger and able to communicate more efficiently than ever.
Do you feel corporate wellness initiatives are a great opportunity for the fitness industry?
After the successful launch of the Team Building Program earlier this year, Retro Fitness is answering the public’s demand by increasing the ways in which we can support company employees on a more frequent basis with our Corporate Wellness Program, which will be launching soon. It’s an exciting position to be able to lead the industry by offering a program focused on encouraging and developing strong physical and mental health among employees, which helps to increase productivity and satisfaction in a smart, efficient way at an affordable and attainable price.
This new initiative is one that will result in only positive benefits, such as helping employers create a supportive environment with top-tier fitness benefits that also support overall mental wellness. Working out is proven to bolster how you feel mentally so by further encouraging a work-life balance, the Corporate Wellness Program will help companies retain employees long-term, which is crucial in the creation and running of a successful business, no matter the industry.
What’s a piece of advice you could share with other fitness operators?
Remember when you hire your teams, personality is probably one of the most important factors today. You will need to develop street teams that source half of the leads from off-site activations. I also suggest you stay current with trends, understanding which trends you should capitalize on in the short and long run, as well as the impact of those on your business and if they add to your carrying costs.