SPENGA is giving Orange Theory a run for its money in the boutique fitness franchise world.
Ride. Rep. Revive. That’s the SPENGA experience. All in one 60-min workout.
I’ll admit since hearing about SPENGA and its tremendous franchise growth this past year (now over 90 locations), I’ve been curious about the SPENGA experience. As an avid fan of fitness, I decided to make the 226-mile trek to the Downers Grove, IL location from Iowa to see what the rage is all about.
Here’s the scoop:
Online Reservation System: Slick! I thought I was ahead of the game by booking 5-days in advance for my Nov. 5 class but that was not the case. I found my preferred class times already had a wait-list, but I was able to add my name to the wait-list and received emails & text messages when I was added to the class(es). Whew!
The Studio: Talk about curb appeal! The Downers Grove location is cozily nestled on a corner of Main Street, one of the most enchanting streets I’ve ever seen. With tall windows and a clean white interior, SPENGA appears very welcoming. As I entered the studio, the reception desk was immediately in front of me to welcome me. There were cushioned benches with big pillows that lined the interior of the tall windows for clients to gather and chat while waiting for class to start. Lockers are provided, but you are responsible for bringing your own water & towel. Initial takeaway: sleek, clean & beautiful!
Customer Service: I am not new to boutique fitness studios. In all honesty, I own one. So I may be a bit harder critic than most in this area. Upon entering the studio, I was warmly greeted by the General Manager, Lauren. Lauren assisted me through the check-in process and personally showed me how to use the lockers, where the restrooms and water station were located, etc. She then introduced me to my trainer for the 6:30 a.m. class, Erin. Erin took time to walk me through the studio to show me each segment of the workout area, prior to class, and answer any questions I had. A+ job ladies!
The SPENGA Workout: So let’s break-down the SPENGA “WERK-out”. It consists of three 20-min segments of spin, strength, & yoga.
Ride it like you stole it….this is the “ride” part. I learned that SPENGA has recently introduced performance tracking software that allows each client to find their “sweet spot”. What does that mean? Well, it works like this. Each client performs a 2-min personal threshold test, pushing it as hard as they can, to establish their “sweet spot”. Once the “sweet spot” is established, they are then tracked against that for their classes each month. My trainer, Erin, taught by zones. Zones 1-4. Your “sweet spot” would be found in Zone 3, which means Zone 4 you are pushing even beyond that. Let me tell you, 20 min of going between all of these zones had my heart pumping. And I’m used to doing 45 to 60-min spin classes regularly. After 20-min of spin intervals, I was dripping in sweat.
No one ever drowned in sweat… this is the “rep” part. Umm, are you sure? I think I might have been. Thank goodness for the complimentary towel I was given. But, don’t think you can do that. I claimed ignorance as I didn’t know I was supposed to bring my own & shared that I had driven all the way from Iowa. SPENGA was quite gracious to gift me the sweat towel. So this is where you focus on 20-mins of circuit style HIIT strength training. 20-seconds on then you get a break. And this continues the full 20-min. Each day a new strength workout is given so you will never get bored. And let me tell you, Erin held us accountable throughout the workout giving us corrections, cheering us on for proper positions & even introduced us to Day 1 of “Planksgiving”. Lucky me. A full 60-second plank. By Thanksgiving, this class will be doing a full 5-minute plank!
Leave it all on the mat…this is the “revive” part. Ahhh. Rest time. I’m seriously wondering how I can still be sweating through yoga! My legs are shaking in my warrior poses. My arms are shaking in the downward facing dog. I’m about ready to yell “thank you” when child pose is recommended. I am a huge fan of the “revive” part!
I had no idea until I met with Tom Powers, the owner of Downers Grove SPENGA, that I was actually visiting the very first SPENGA franchise location. Wow. Obviously, if I drove 226 miles I was going to ask Tom a few questions given the risk involved in being the first franchisee in an Emerging franchise brand.
So, meet Tom. SPENGA, Downers Grove & Elmhurst Franchise Owner.
Why Tom chose SPENGA.
Tom personally knew the owners of the corporate location and has worked in the fitness industry for years and was approached with an opportunity to open the initial franchise location. Although risky being the launch franchise location, Tom believed in SPENGA and knew the initial corporate location was “rocking & rolling” and felt he could continue that success with the owners’ support. Tom opened up SPENGA, Downers Grove, in July 2016. Since then, Tom has opened a second location in Elmhurst, IL.
Once the franchise agreement is signed, how long does it take till operational?
Tom shared there are many variables that can affect this such as finding the right location, to a good general contractor, to the support of the franchise system. For his Elmhurst location, Tom said it took ~6 months from start to finish. He added that SPENGA owners have been very supportive and have all the tools in place to help support their new franchise owners.
What differentiates SPENGA from other boutique fitness studios?
SPENGA very much believes in “giving back” to the community & creating its own community within the studio. Tom shared he was “raised Catholic and believes in doing the right thing”. This spans from the experience that a client has from the moment they walk into the studio such as “cleanliness and friendliness” to “providing 150+ green hats for the Downers Grove Thanksgiving 5K that starts right outside our studio doors”. Tom’s “giving back” initiative was very evident in the studio by their Soles4Souls campaign. Additionally, Roger McGreal, co-founder of SPENGA, stated in a recent interview that “SPENGA fills a void in the market, by being the first studio of its kind, delivering cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training in one 60-minute workout”.
How has SPENGA’s quick growth affected you as a franchise owner?
Tom shared as with any new franchise system, the growth has come with some changes. But, good changes. Being the 1st franchise owner of the system, he was somewhat of a “guinea pig” when it came to establishing the baseline. With that said, being a part of the system from the beginning has been a rewarding process, especially having seen the growth experienced over the past two years.
The boutique fitness market is one of the fastest growing segments in the fitness industry today. According to Goldman Sachs, “For Millennials, wellness is a daily, active pursuit. They’re exercising more, eating smarter, and smoking less than previous generations… And this is one space (boutique fitness studios) where they’re willing to spend money on compelling brands.” And SPENGA certainly meets the criteria of a “compelling brand.”
I’d have to agree with Roger McGreal, SPENGA’s low-impact, full body workout approach is unlike any other fitness class I’ve experienced. I loved it! If you are a fitness junkie like me and are looking for an incredible workout, SPENGA is a must try.
As an independent franchise consultant, I want to “experience” the brands that I am most passionate about & give an independent endorsement of those that I think are worth the investment. I know first-hand that investing in a business is a big step and one that should not be taken lightly. Any brand-specific blog is 100% an independent experience & review; one that is not endorsed, nor initiated by the franchise brand.
Now on that note…
If I’ve piqued your interest and you would like to learn more about the brand and what it takes to own a SPENGA franchise, I’d love to chat further with you. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to break down the specifics for you in a no pressure & no cost to you way.
Author: Stacie Shannon, Founder & CEO, Fusion Franchising