Waxing the City Is Anytime Fitness’ New Growth Vehicle
The founders of Anytime Fitness hope to make the world a little less hairy. The world’s fastest-growing fitness club franchise acquired Waxing the City, a Denver-based chain of body waxing salons, in October, and opened a location in Woodbury soon after.
Waxing the City had just five locations nationwide, but Anytime Fitness CEO and co-founder Chuck Runyon says he and co-founder/President Dave Mortensen see an opening. “Ten years ago, we were a fitness company. Now, we’re a franchise company,” says Runyon. The systems they developed with Anytime Fitness can be adapted to other kinds of businesses, he says.
Waxing the City’s model—bright, clean, stand-alone shops in locations like Woodbury’s City Walk—seems designed to cater more to busy suburban women than hipster metrosexuals, but Runyon says men are a growing part of the market. Males used to make up less than 5 percent of waxing customers; they now comprise close to 10 percent. Young men in their early 20s are most interested in a smooth look, including legs and arms, he says, which bodes well for future growth.
“Ten years ago, we were a fitness franchise company. Now we’re a franchise company.”
While not first to market (European Wax Center already has 432 locations, including half a dozen in the Twin Cities area), Runyon says Waxing the City has more intense training of its “cerologists” (a term coined by the founders) and is “more fanatical about the client experience.”
The Woodbury location is exceeding expectations, Runyon says, and a second company-owned store in St. Paul’s Highland Park was scheduled to open in mid-April. Franchises are just going on the market (with an early-bird discount). Within five years, they hope to have 350 locations.
But that’s just the start. Within the decade, Runyon expects his franchise factory to have as many as six different brands in “the self-improvement space.” “People leave our [Anytime Fitness] store feeling better [than] when they walked in,” he says, and he’s looking for new ways to spread that around. “We’re going to continue to stay opportunistic.”