Retro Fitness Targets Chicago for Expansion

Gym franchise with a dominant presence in the Northeast already has a foothold in Chicago; planning huge expansion.

Retro Fitness, the third-largest “high value, low price” gym and fitness franchise in the United States, has targeted Chicago for expansion and is actively seeking franchisees to help build the brand throughout the city.

Retro Fitness CEO Andrew Alfano has identified as many as 95 locations in the Chicago area, building upon the three gyms already operating downtown, in Portage Park’s Six Corners shopping district and in Carol Stream. The company is already a dominant brand in the Northeast. The downtown location at 310 S. Michigan Avenue is owned by Ike Tawil, who also owns two Retro Fitness locations in Brooklyn.

“We know there is a need for a low-cost, high-value fitness center in Chicago, and the Retro Fitness model is the perfect gym concept to fill the void,” Tawil says.

For new entrepreneurs or those looking to diversify their investments, Retro Fitness’ track record is compelling. The top 50% of Retro Fitness locations averaged $1.4 million in sales in 2018, 3,785 members and an EBITDA of 24%, as noted in the Franchise Disclosure Document that Retro provides to candidates who inquire into ownership opportunities. For the top 10% of clubs, those numbers were $2.2 million AUV, 5,605 members and 31% EBITDA. The startup investment is similar to a restaurant franchise location, which typically only yields around 15% EBITDA and requires managing a much larger roster of employees. Financial considerations and details of the business model can be explored in greater detail by visiting

The fitness industry continues to grow

The gym industry itself is experiencing high growth. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), Americans spent $32.3 billion at health clubs in 2018, and that figure is expected to grow 20% over the next five years. Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, are expected to drive long-term growth because they are much more fitness-conscious than their predecessor generations. According to the Physical Activity Council, nearly 64% of Millennials and 71% of Gen Z are regularly involved in high calorie-burning activities. That compares to 41.6% of Baby Boomers.

The industry has seen consistent growth — even during the Great Recession. From 2008 to 2012, while many other industries were declining, total gym membership grew from 45.6 million to 52.2 million, the IHRSA reports.

How Retro Fitness stands out

A group of men and women workout on exercise bikes during a spin class at Retro Fitness.

Retro Fitness members who pay $29.99/mo. have access to unlimited group training classes — in addition to full use of the gym and amenities.

Retro Fitness distinguishes itself from competitors by providing tremendous value at a low price point. Monthly memberships start at $19.99, which includes access to a full range of equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, free weights, machines and more. For another $10 a month, members also gain access to unlimited group exercise classes including yoga, spin, Zumba and high-intensity interval training, as well as Zen amenities including massage beds and tanning.

Retro’s business model aims to attract members who are looking for a more balanced workout than they might have been accustomed to at cardio-dominant discount gyms like Planet Fitness, while also providing a compelling value to people who enjoy group exercise classes, which can easily run over $100 a month at boutique fitness centers like Orangetheory.

“Our slogan is ‘Get Real,’ because we provide a fundamentally-sound fitness experience that’s not based on fads, or limitations on member potential by limiting their workout with weight restrictions, or feeding pizza to members,” says Retro Fitness SVP of Marketing Victor Bao. “We build membership communities in our gyms and help people achieve their goals by surrounding them with the right support, the right equipment, the right classes and the right nutrition.”

Combining community and value

A 2018 report from Piper Jaffrey showed that 53% of boutique members at cult-style gyms like Orangetheory note “they would leave their boutique if a similar class was offered at a gym for a lower price.” Retro Fitness aims to fulfill this desire through its $29.99 membership tier, which includes full gym access as well as unlimited classes. Retro Fitness also offers an app for iPhone and Android that allows users to sign up for classes and track their fitness goals.

CFO Robbie Sprechman notes that Retro Fitness is ideally positioned to capture business from fitness enthusiasts who are looking for ways to save money while maintaining their regimens. While the brand’s value has helped it thrive amid the current strong economy, it is well-positioned to capture market share in the event of a downturn.

“A lot of people will recognize the value we offer immediately,” he says. “Others who have been happy with their current workouts will be looking for ways to reduce $150/month memberships. We give them a way to save money, keep the same types of quality experiences and much more.”

Site selection considerations

Retro Fitness strategically targets new locations based on market segment and demographic density where Retro Fitness can provide scaled support to its franchisees. The corporate support team takes a hands-on approach to site selection and has helped develop over 2 million square feet nationwide.

Retro Fitness locations require at least 15,000 square feet of space and are typically located in shopping centers or malls/lifestyle centers with a direct exterior entrance and 80 feet of store frontage. The minimum required ceiling height is 20 feet in order to accommodate a mezzanine.

To learn more about site selection criteria or to inquire about franchise opportunities, visit

New High-Tech, Low-Cost Fitness Center Coming to Chicago

New High-Tech, Low-Cost Fitness Center Coming to Chicago

Retro Fitness of Chicago Opens Preview Center to Prepare for July Grand Opening

Retro Fitness, a low-cost, high-value personalized fitness concept that gives members an elevated workout experience, will soon be available at its newest Illinois location at 310S. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Local residents interested in joining Retro Fitness can stop by the gym’s preview center located at 408 S. Michigan Avenue —in advance of the July opening—for a sneak peek into the state-of-the-art fitness facility, and sign up for a Founder’s membership at reduced rates.

The new Retro Fitness will be owned by fitness enthusiast and long-time runner, Ike Tawil. After working in corporate America for almost 30 years, Ike decided it was time to hang up his suit and tie to pursue something he’s always been interested in – entrepreneurialism. Tired of the 9-5 daily grind and stationary desk job, Ike was ready to combine his entrepreneurial spirit with his love of fitness by opening Chicago’s second Retro Fitness. This new location is Ike’s third Retro fitness, with two others located in his hometown of Brooklyn, NY. Ike is thrilled to bring Retro Fitness to the heart of the Windy City for all of Chicago to enjoy.

“Retro Fitness gives an incredible value because we offer the training, amenities and atmosphere members love at high-end gyms and boutique studios,” Ike said. “Members will keep coming back because we offer a fun and friendly, non-intimidating workout environment that we pride ourselves on keeping spotlessly clean. That’s the key to the brand’s success and why we’ll be a great addition to the Chicago community.”

The first 250 members who sign-up before the club opens will receive a limited time offer of a $0 enrollment fee on all membership types and 20% off all team and strong memberships. There are multiple membership types available, including several functional training options, to customize the experience for each member based on their fitness goals. In addition to the basic membership for $24.99 per month, the VIP membership for $34.99 per month, includes unlimited group training, massages, tanning and access to the sauna.

The Chicago gym has training for all, with a variety of class options and a membership model designed to help members reach their goals, no matter where they are in their fitness journey. Retro Fitness elevates the member experience by combining the benefits of a traditional large gym environment with a variety of personalized boutique-like fitness offerings including, training options, amenities and flexibility. Whether it’s classes, small group strength training, team training or one-on-one coaching, this new gym has everyone’s fitness needs covered.

Retro Fitness supports member’s personal fitness goals through three training tiers comprised of One-on-One Training (ONE), the premium training program with customized workouts and private coaching, Small Group Training (STRONG), involving 2-4 members building strength with a personal trainer and Team Conditioning (TEAM), a high-energy curriculum in a larger group atmosphere. This multi-level personal training program provides a solution to members of any fitness level or with any desired price point. All levels of training incorporate MYZONE heart rate monitoring technology, which displays real time heart rates, calories, and effort data on big screen TVs inside the gym. This technology will gamify the workout experience, encouraging members to perform to the best of their abilities and push themselves to new limits.

In addition to the latest tech and modern equipment, the 20,000 square-foot gym will include a variety of calorie-burning group fitness classes such as: Zumba, yoga, Pilates, cardio classes and more. The club will also be furnished with the latest in circuit and weight training equipment and cardio machines equipped with personal flat-screen TVs. The gym will also boast a functional training area, full-service locker rooms, a supervised children’s playroom, a Retro Blends Smoothie Bar for post-workout recovery and a sauna.

“We know there is a need for a low-cost, high-value fitness center in Chicago, and the Retro Fitness model is the perfect gym concept to fill the void,” Tawil added. “Nothing happens overnight, but we can help members reach their milestones by taking it one rep, squat and day at a time. We focus on progress and embrace and encourage our members that every time they walk into this gym, they have a new opportunity to be better than they were yesterday.”

The Chicago Retro Fitness Preview Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Special registration discounts are available for a limited time at the gym’s preview center. For more information, call Retro Fitness of Chicago at 312-488-1827

Retro Fitness Continues to Expand in East Coast States

Retro Fitness Continues to Expand in East Coast States

National Low-Cost, High-Value Fitness Franchise Collaborates with Local Entrepreneurs to Develop Brand in New Jersey and Florida

COLTS NECK, N.J. (February 22, 2019) – Retro Fitness, a national low-cost, high-value fitness franchise, announced today it has added two new franchisees totaling four new franchise agreements with local entrepreneurs Joe and Shawna Liotine for Tampa, FL and Jim Sparling for Central, NJ.

“We’ve seen the brand do well in these prime expansion markets, and we are thrilled to see the impact of our unique fitness offering reach even more people,” said Eric Casaburi, CEO and founder of Retro Fitness. “The Retro Fitness business model continues to attract existing entrepreneurs and first-time business owners because of the comprehensive business model that gives franchisees the ability to set their Retro Fitness clubs apart from the rest in the industry.”

The anticipated business development indicates that Retro Fitness and its franchisees will infuse more than $1 million into their respective markets through local investments. Once complete, each new gym will employ at least 25 people.

  • Joe Liotine (Tampa, FL) has a strong fitness background, working as a general manager for Lifetime Fitness gyms in various markets around the United States over the last two decades. Joe decided to leverage that experience to open his first fitness franchises with Retro Fitness in Citrus Park. He and his wife Shawna will develop two more clubs over the next three years. The U.S. Marine Veteran recognized Retro Fitness as the best franchise platform in the fitness industry and loved the fact that it caters to many different needs.
  • Jim Sparling (Central, NJ) is a lifetime entrepreneur having successfully developed and operated businesses in real estate and construction. Looking to diversify and enter into the fitness world, he is now in the process of opening his first Retro Fitness club with plans to develop more in the coming years.

Retro Fitness has grown into a 155+ franchise by offering members everything they love about a big box gym – extra space, vast amenities, and bundling it with personalized classes and niche workout experiences. The brand is changing the way guests envision the modern gym environment.

In addition to all the training equipment needed for a world-class workout, when these Retro Fitness locations open, they’ll support its members’ personal fitness goals through three training tiers comprised of: One-on-One Training (ONE), the premium training program with customized workouts and private coaching; Small Group Training (STRONG), involving 2-4 members building strength with a personal trainer; and Team Conditioning (TEAM), a high-energy curriculum in a larger group atmosphere. These franchisees are passionate about making sure everyone’s fitness needs will be covered in their new gym.

Fitness enthusiasts in New Jersey and Florida should expect to see Retro Fitness join their communities in 2019.

About Retro Fitness
Founded in 2004 by entrepreneur Eric Casaburi, Retro Fitness has evolved from a regional Northeast gym concept into a national fitness system with more than 155 gyms open in 16 states. Under Casaburi’s leadership, Retro Fitness is expanding its footprint with more than 100 gyms in its development pipeline and plans to have 250 gyms open in the next two years in new, major markets, such as Florida, Illinois, California, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Each Retro Fitness location is equipped with a full-service fitness center, including 60-100 pieces of equipment supplied by leading manufacturers. For more information and to learn more about fitness franchise ownership opportunities, visit

Fitness Franchise Retro Inks Agreements for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina & Florida

Fitness Franchise Retro Inks Agreements for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina & Florida

COLTS NECK, N.J. – Retro Fitness, a national high-value, low-price fitness franchise, announced that it has signed four new franchise agreements with entrepreneurs Scot and Mark Pinto (New Jersey); Luis Henriquez and Gene Truono (Pennsylvania/Delaware); Richard Garrison (North Carolina); and Steve Plattner and Ron Wuchko (Florida).

“All of these are prime expansion markets for Retro Fitness, and we are thrilled to be executing our strategic growth in these areas,” said Eric Casaburi, CEO and founder of Retro Fitness. “The Retro Fitness business model continues to attract qualified investors who seek job security, flexibility and the chance to secure their financial futures. We look forward to increasing the brand’s presence along the East Coast and are armed and ready to offer consumers a fitness experience of a lifetime.”

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How Eric Casaburi Built A Fitness Franchise Empire of More Than 150

How Eric Casaburi Built A Fitness Franchise Empire of More Than 150

Scaling a business is one of the toughest challenges for any entrepreneur, and expanding nationwide is even more challenging. Eric Casaburi, Founder of Retro Fitness, discusses how he was able to expand his brand across the country, while also also empowering his team and his clients to be their best selves.

Listen as Entrepreneur Network partner David Meltzer and Casaburi discuss the importance of teamwork when working in a franchise model, as well as the principles that Casaburi teaches to his franchisees in order to to expand his franchise’s reach across the country. The pair also discuss misconceptions that entrepreneurs have, as well as the habits that set great entrepreneurs apart from the rest.

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How Two NFL Retirees Are Tackling Their Challenges With A Strong Game Plan

How Two NFL Retirees Are Tackling Their Challenges With A Strong Game Plan

Former NFL quarterback David Garrard has found personal success in life after football despite a lack of financial literacy obtained during his years in the NFL. Specifically, he chose to invest in the franchise industry and open up three Retro Fitness locations after an introduction from his financial advisor. He is not alone. Another six-year NFL veteran Jameel McClain, who now serves as Assistant Director of Engagement for the Baltimore Ravens, is invested in the same business as Garrard.

“Franchising allows you to be your own boss and gives you a playbook that sets you up for success if you follow it,” says Delancey Street CEO Max Soni, who knows the players as well as what it takes to be an entrepreneur, starting his first business at 17-years-old. Here is what the duo of NFL retirees have to share about being in the franchising business after successful careers as football players.

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