Retro Fitness, one of the fastest-growing health club franchises, is spearheading an unrivaled solution for Black and Brown communities to gain access to affordable exercise.
Over the past couple of years, the pandemic hasn’t only induced looming obesity rates and other health issues, but also the inaccessibility to health clubs. In response, Retro Fitness launched Project LIFT, an eager commitment to open 500 health clubs in 50 Black and Brown communities across the country in the next five years.
A historic deal
With the support and partnership of BlackRock’s Impact Opportunities Fund and investor, James Collins, the historic development deal initiated the opening of 80 health clubs in Houston, Dallas, and South Florida.
“Project LIFT is Retro Fitness’ north star, creating a company with a purpose,” Andrew Alfano, CEO of Retro Fitness, told BLACK ENTERPRISE in an email statement.
“Our exclusive partnerships with a variety of experts adds an educational component to these communities covering a variety of topics including anxiety and depression, healthy recipes by Culinary Institute of America Chefs, as well as published authors covering nutrition.”
“Blackrock recognized Retro Fitness’ initiative to provide health and fitness solutions to Black and Brown communities, while at the same time creating a compelling opportunity for investors.“
“This motivated them to make the largest investment deal in the history of Retro Fitness,” he added.
(Image: Courtesy of Retro Fitness)In working on Project LIFT, Collins told BLACK ENTERPRISE that when he learned of Retro Fitness’ efforts to “combat health issues that disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities and it immediately resonated.” He said he “feels confident in knowing that these clubs will be accessible to those whose health and wellness have been negatively affected [by the pandemic].”
“These health clubs are here for them, and we want to show up and provide that community feel.”
Closing the wage gap for Black workers
In addition to spearheading change in health and fitness, Project LIFT offers positive financial opportunities for the local community. From the construction of clubs, to front-desk attendees, employment will be more accessible in order to tackle the wage gap for Black workers.
“That means hiring [people] from the local community that look like the people in the health clubs and providing them with fair and equal wages,” Collins said.
“Along with their wages, the employees and General Managers will receive a valuable work experience that also provides substantial career opportunities and advances.”
He continued: “It’s my hope that by having the Project LIFT locations employed by Black and Brown community members, that we create a true breeding ground for future leaders, whether that’s within Retro Fitness or elsewhere in the community.”
Giving back to the community
The pipeline grows stronger as Retro Fitness will be donating a percentage of their royalties back to an organization or charity within the Black and Brown communities.