Yea I know, odd industry.

I started my self-funded search for a company within the Mid-Atlantic during the summer of 2020, and I just closed on an independent fitness studio company with two locations located in Northern Virginia. It was quite the ride! Obviously the search was something else, but the up and down that came with closing this deal was exhausting as it took 6 months to complete. The deal died a thousand deaths but we finally got it done.

Now, fitness studios aren't exactly a typical target for a search fund, self funded or traditional, because it's a very competitive industry and significant growth requires significant capital expenditures. I love the gym space though because you essentially get monthly subscribers and a fairly predictable revenue floor, and if you look out across the private equity space you'll see a lot of large funds at least somewhat agree. However, in order to make a quality investment in this space, you almost always have to buy into a franchise where your investment is less risky but your upside is limited unless you have significant financial sway. If you buy an expensive established fitness franchise, you have to not only fork over some of your revenue, you're also prevented from expanding to certain geographic regions because another franchisee "owns" that region. On the other hand, independent fitness studios and gyms typically lack quality and a well-developed brand, so in such a competitive industry an investment in independent studios can be quite risky even though you're able to retain the upside. The goal of every fitness studio with ambition is to eventually franchise though, and that's what I hope to do here in time.

So when I found this company, I was surprised by the level of quality of the product and brand; it was franchise ready now with minimal changes. It only needed to rebound from the pandemic financially and return to its 2019 trajectory. As a gym rat and lover of fitness, I knew that the group fitness classes that were taught were well grounded in science and were not a gimmick like a lot of fitness classes out there. No strange lighting or annoying trainers yelling in your face. It has staying power, and all it needed was a dedicated owner who could dive head first into marketing and improve the financials of the business after a difficult couple of years. Changing life circumstances and pandemic burnout led the owner to sell the business, and I recognized that the business was not far from being able to franchise. Also, the price and location in the "fittest county in the US" were certainly a draw. I still have to lot to learn in order to guide this company to the growth that I know it's capable of, but there's an excellent team in place here that will help me maintain the quality of the product while I get the word out. And like every searcher, a lot of luck doesn't hurt.

Here's a little gorilla marketing for you on SearchFunder: If you're in the DC area, come check out E60 Fitness! Our website is and you can follow us on Instagram @e60fitness