An international gym chain is bulking up its local presence.
F45, which takes its name from its so-called 45-minute sessions of “functional training,” is in expansion mode with a new location in the Fan in the works and a newly opened spot in Hanover County.
The Fan location is slated to open this April at 2035 W. Broad St., a 2,000-square-foot space above the restaurant Pies & Pints.
Local franchisee Ben Wiedemer and his business partners operate F45 gyms in the D.C. area and are behind the Broad Street location. Wiedemer said the group saw room for expansion in the Richmond market and he sought a change of scenery.
“I was looking to get out of D.C. So, I was looking at markets nearby — markets that were maybe a bit underserved and a place I wanted to live,” he said.
The group operates five F45 gyms in the D.C. area, and opened the first of those four years ago. Wiedemer’s managing partners in the ownership group are Mark Crick and Devon Mare.
The group also bought the F45 franchises in Short Pump and Libbie Place shopping center for an undisclosed amount from Brian Wiley a couple weeks ago. Wiedemer said the acquisitions help the group build a local network of gyms to encourage repeat visits from members.
“When (a member’s) studio or gym becomes their community, from a business standpoint they’re more likely to stick around and they’re more likely to participate,” Wiedemer said. “It’s about creating a broader community throughout Richmond and allows people to bounce around.”
The Fan F45 will offer unlimited packages at $45-$50 a week, a price structure that the ownership group plans to apply across its Richmond area locations. F45 franchisees are able to set their own membership rates.
The chain’s functional training consists of cardio and strength training routines using equipment like stationary bikes, kettlebells and rowers.
To the north, a pair of sisters have opened an F45 at 11601 Lakeridge Parkway just south of Ashland.
Franchisees Nicole Loeffelholz and Michelle Pauscher said they settled on the area to be close to home and also fill what they see as a gap in exercise options in that area.
“We wanted it to be something that isn’t offered around here,” Pauscher said. “We were driving to Short Pump for quite a while to do our workout.”
They first became acquainted with F45 during a family vacation in Florida.
“It was our second workout and Nicole looked at me and said, ‘We have to open one,’” Pauscher said. “What really sets it apart is the variety it has. You won’t walk in and do the same thing every day.”
The Hanover gym offers an unlimited package for $169 a month, a two-times-a-week package at $139 a month and class packages that range from $115 for five classes to $400 for 20 classes.
Loeffelholz and Pauscher have full-time jobs in health care. Their gym had its grand opening last week.
F45, which was founded in Australia in 2013, has more than 1,600 gyms in more than 60 countries.