Boutique strength and conditioning fitness franchise The Yard Gym has entered into a partnership with F45 co-founder Rob Deutsch as it looks to triple its location footprint in the short term, although the company could not reveal the terms of the arrangement.
Deutsch co-founded F45 in 2012 alongside Luke Istomin and Adam Gilchrist, but in mid-2020 he left the company and made his scepticism of a NASDAQ listing public at the time. The company achieved unicorn status the following year, but poor financial performance led to its decline and recent delisting.
Deutsch is now a partner and strategic advisor at The Yard Gym, which was founded by husband-and-wife duo Tiarne and Daniel Bova in 2020 with the lease for their first Cronulla studio signed just two weeks before the first COVID lockdown.
However, between one-on-one personal training (PT) sessions outside the studio and making an at-home movement series on social media with postings three times a week, the company built a strong following and was primed for growth.
"The first 12 months between the two lockdowns it was so explosive and incredible in the way that everyone took up the brand and took up the model," Dan Bova tells Business News Australia.
"In the second lockdown we did over 2,500 PT sessions outside, and then we bounced back like nothing happened, came back stronger, and then in 2021 we launched the franchise network."
Dan, a former F45 franchisee, says the plan from the beginning was to not overscale or oversaturate, and in discussions with Deutsch he found the fitness veteran shared these values.
"The involvement of Rob allows the brand to be a lot more robust, and it’s about learning from Rob’s experience - learning what worked so well and what didn’t work so well," he says.
The co-founder says he is 'beyond excited' for the future.
"My vision for The Yard Gym has not changed - strong communities built on strong training foundations, giving our clients a second-to-none experience, day in and day out," he says.
"I am committed and driven to continuing to deliver the world’s most balanced strength and conditioning workout, backed by our incredible fitouts, technology, brand collaborations and social media presence."
Deutsch says since leaving F45, and having 'zero involvement since', he has really missed the camaraderie of working with a like-minded, passionate team.
"I have also thoroughly missed the fitness industry. I have been presented with endless fitness concepts with opportunities to invest, but one model stood out for me, one that truly aligns with my core values, The Yard Gym," says Deutsch.
"Dan and Tiarne have built a phenomenal business. One that is focused on brand, innovation, and creating incredible communities - all things I am passionate about.
"I am excited to add value and experience to build on Dan’s expertise, adding confidence to the people, our franchisees and the fitness industry. I am pumped to be joining this epic business."
Whilst Dan Bova is against 'overscaling', he does have bold growth ambitions within the limitations of policies to limit territories to large sizes so that each location has 'a lot of security' against oversaturation.
"For longevity it’s purely just an amazing product, an amazing brand – there aren't too many, so we keep that exclusivity, and we continue to innovate in the group fitness environment," he says.
The Yard Gym currently has a network of 18 locations - mostly in NSW but also one in Queensland and two in San Diego, California.
"We’ll finish the year with 25 open. We’ve sold over 50 territories, and 48 territories have been reserved within the last 14 days," he says.
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