From Cleveland to Charlotte; and New York City to Atlanta, we're a group who simply would not mesh by happenstance. Prior to forming our alliance, we had achieved some small level of success as individuals, but together we have found that we can accomplish so much more. Our team combines for over 60 years of experience owning and operating various wellness businesses. As it turns out, our unique strengths have proven the perfect compliment to each other, creating a recipe for sustainable growth.
Having gone from a management role to purchasing his first franchised Fitness Together studio, Aaron Forinash sought out fellow franchisee Sean Sullivan at their National Conference. Sean also took that leap at his studio the year prior; so, Aaron wanted to pick his brain a bit. The two of them hit it off like old friends and decided to hop on a phone call once per month to share ideas- struggles, successes, setting goals and most importantly accountability.
The following year at the same National Conference a group of franchisees presented the idea of what they called a Masterminds Group. This group of 5 or 6 franchisees from different areas of the country had decided to share best demonstrated practices together and even made the commitment to visit each other's studios once per quarter. They ended their talk by encouraging other owners in the system to form their own similar groups.
Without hesitation, Sean made his way over to Aaron's table with a notepad and a pen. He suggested adding a few more owners to the calls that they had already been conducting. Katie and Mike Warechowski, a power couple who had tasted much success with the brand were the first to come to mind since Sean had enjoyed a nice dinner with them the night before. After the Warechowskis added their names on the notepad, the group agreed that they should add one or 2 more studios. "Count us in!" exclaimed Stephen Kopshaw who happened to be sitting at the same table in the conference room. Stephen was sitting with his business partner, Lisa Paladino Petersen. The group of 6 masterminds had been nothing more than acquaintances until that moment.
After creating a general outline of calls and studio visits, the team found themselves together for the first time in Cleveland, Ohio. With a somewhat loose agenda combined with serious business meetings and some fun team-building activities, it quickly became apparent that this group could work together very well. With individual studios located in (B) Brecksville, OH, (C) Charlotte, NC, (W) Wyckoff, NJ and (E) East Cobb, GA they came up with the acronym BCWE or Because We....Before parting ways they wrote down some longterm goals and more importantly their why. Why are we running this business? What do we want to achieve by running these fitness studios? Why did we decide to get started in the first place? Because We....
Perhaps it was no coincidence that each of them were either on the Leadership Council or an Area Director within the franchise system; and they found themselves together again just a couple of months later for some training at their corporate headquarters in Denver, CO. After a long day of productive strategy meetings the group went out to dinner with a few of the corporate Wellbiz Brands employees. It was Aaron who first threw the idea out there...
"What would you say if the 6 of us wanted to work together and maybe save an unsuccessful studio that was at risk of closing?" he confidently asked Eric Goetsch, the companies Vice President of Operations.
After conversations continued down several various rabbit holes, it happened. The group found themselves together once again only 2 short months later; but this time with the intention of becoming business partners. They were in Tysons Corner, Virginia visiting a Fitness Together studio that they would consider purchasing together.
The Tysons Corner takeover proved to be a major success story. Since that trip, the group has formed an alliance that now expands across all 2 Wellbiz Brands franchises- Fitness Together and Elements Massage; and they own the growing FIT36 Franchise. They now share 18 businesses altogether in 9 states and don't anticipate hitting the brakes anytime soon.