PureGym opens first US gym in Northern Virginia, the first in larger US expansion – Washington Business Journal – Washington Business Journal

PureGym opens first US gym in Northern Virginia, the first in larger US expansion – Washington Business Journal – Washington Business Journal

PureGym opens first US gym in Northern Virginia, the first in larger US expansion – Washington Business Journal – Washington Business Journal

European fitness center chain PureGym will hold a grand opening Thursday in Tysons for its first gym in the U.S. — one that kicks off of a much larger expansion plan in Greater Washington and beyond.
The Leeds, England, company, operating locally as Pure Fitness, opened the roughly 15,500-square-foot gym at 8311-B Leesburg Pike — a former Pier 1 Imports store — in late December, to be quickly followed by a second location in Elkridge, Maryland, opening Jan. 13 and a third in Springfield opening Jan. 27.
PureGym homed in on Greater Washington for its U.S. launch for a number of reasons, including the region’s economic base, according to Paul Denham, international development director at PureGym, who is leading the U.S. rollout.
“Our first priority is to open these three, and to make sure they’re a fantastic success,” Denham said. “Beyond that, there is an opportunity for a significant number of locations in the D.C. region.”
The company has been eying a U.S. expansion for the past four years, and even amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Denham said he believes there’s a substantial demand for its brand of technology-enabled fitness centers. Pure Fitness offers a range of price points from day passes to monthly memberships starting at $9.99 a month. The Tysons location will be open to some members 24 hours a day.
PureGym launched in the United Kingdom in 2009 and is the second-largest operator in Europe, with more than 500 health clubs and 1.7 million members worldwide, according to Denham. It’s expanding into other markets across the globe, including Saudi Arabia, through both company-owned locations and franchise deals with local operators. While it goes by PureGym elsewhere, the company determined Pure Fitness resonated more strongly with prospective members in the U.S.
“In parallel with owned gyms, we are also actively seeking franchise partners who share our ambitions and values to work with us in opening Pure Fitness clubs in other locations within the U.S.,” Denham said, noting that competitors such as Planet Fitness and Crunch Fitness also embrace a combination of corporate-owned and franchised clubs.
So why launch these particular Northern Virginia and Maryland locations? The company looks for areas with a high concentration of residents in their 30s and 40s, though “we very much have an everybody-welcome philosophy,” Denham said.
It was keen on Tysons for its mix of office and residential, as well as its accessibility by car, bus and rail via Metro’s Greensboro station. The Springfield location, at Springfield Commons north of where Frontier Drive meets the Franconia-Springfield Parkway, enjoys a heavy amount of vehicle traffic, as does Elkridge, which is in Howard County. The three are also located in parts of the region not oversaturated by other fitness centers, Denham said.
The locations vary in size, ranging from 15,500 square feet in Tysons to a 27,600-square-foot former Modell’s store in Springfield, though the average for existing locations is between 15,000 and 18,000 square feet. Pure Fitness has retained H&R Retail to help with the search for more sites.
Pure Fitness launches amid the latest spike in coronavirus cases tied to the Omicron variant, which has led to increased restrictions on indoor activity in some places. Howard County reinstated a mask mandate for all businesses in late December; Fairfax is recommending, though not requiring, masks in all indoor settings. Denham said Pure Fitness is also scouting out potential sites in D.C., where a a mask mandate was reinstated and a vaccination mandate set to kick in Jan. 15 will require gym customers to show proof of at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccination to work out inside.
PureGym reopened its facilities in the U.K. without a mask mandate and without any major incident or widespread outbreaks, Denham said. The company’s membership there now hovers at around 95% of pre-pandemic levels, he added.
“We’re convinced our protocols are really robust,” he said. “We’re pretty confident that the way we do business is successful in the times of Covid.”
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