Barry’s Bootcamp marches into global fitness market

The fitness favorite among Hollywood hunks and Manhattan models alike is taking its sweat-heavy brand global. Barry’s Bootcamp, whose signature studio color is red — is clearly seeing green.

With serious private capital behind it, the company just announced it will open at least five new studios this year, from Atlanta to Milan to Stockholm. Under the leadership of former fitness instructor Joey Gonzalez, Barry’s will grow to 39 studios worldwide this year, with several more in the planning stages.

“For many many years the brand has been a lot bigger than the business, and this is really just about catching up to the brand,” said Gonzalez, the CEO who is positioning Barry’s as a “lifestyle brand.”

Barry’s is being fueled by capital from North Castle Partners, the private equity firm behind the growth of another health brand, Equinox, which was later acquired by The Related Cos.

Barry’s may be in the newly dubbed “boutique” category, with single-class prices ranging from $23 in Nashville, Tennessee, to $40 in the Hamptons, but it’s been around for nearly 20 years. For the first decade it stuck to California, but by the end of this year, it will have more than 40,000 patrons pumping iron and pounding treadmills, according to the company.

A class in session at Barry's Boot Camp.

Diana Olick | CNBC
A class in session at Barry’s Boot Camp.

The brand goes beyond the biceps on Barry’s trainers and clients — each studio has a lifestyle clothing boutique with Barry-branded workout apparel, a signature “Fuel Bar” offering “Barry’s own recipes of healthy and energizing smoothies and snacks,” and locker rooms stocked with Barry’s-branded water and hygiene products.

When Barry’s started in 1998, it was a pioneer in boutique fitness. But as the concept caught on, and competitors popped up, Gonzales said, “We have tried to do the best job we can at building a true lifestyle brand, and what that means is bringing all of these different pieces into one.”

The fitness space is only getting more competitive. Brands like Orangetheory, Crunch and Planet Fitness are growing exponentially through franchise models, while even smaller boutiques like Pure Barre and Solidcore are gaining market share.

Barry’s experimented briefly with a franchise model but quickly moved away from that, although its international studios will be joint ventures, Gonzalez said.

“We identified early on that our brand equity was one of the most valuable things about Barry’s, and so it was really important for us to protect our brand and our culture and make sure the experience people were having was exactly what it was meant to be,” he said.

While Gonzalez said he has no plans on taking the company public, he admitted, “Anything’s possible.”

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