Getting KoKo Fit for the New Year
We all have those extra holiday pounds we packed on over the last few weeks, which means fitness is on everyone’s mind. Of course once you lose it, you need to keep it off.
When I first met Michael Ander, he introduced me to a unique concept in fitness. KoKo Fit Club is a personal training system without the personal trainer. The custom weight lifting machines are fitted with a computer system that keeps track of each and every workout. It tells you which exercise to do, at what weight setting and how many reps. Then it continually monitors your progress and adjusts based on your progress. You basically follow along, similar to having a trainer telling you what to do. There are also many cardio machines as well to compliment your lifting regimen.
Hoboken was a great spot for KoKo Fit Club, since it’s such a nice blend of urban and suburban, dense city and tight community. Michael was living in New York City at the time and originally thought it would be a great place to test out the concept. After five years he has seen success in Hoboken but feels the business model is equally suited for the suburban environment, having opened his second location in Shrewsbury.
The biggest challenge he has seen so far like many businesses in Hoboken was the impact of Hurricane Sandy. He found out how easy it was for insurance companies to exclude coverage where he thought he would be covered. After the initial impact of rebuilding, it was hard to get people back into fitness since it wasn’t seen as a necessity in such a lean time. The fitness industry as a whole had seen big a hit post-Sandy, but the storm really affected areas like Hoboken. Luckily he weathered the storm after the storm as well, and business is picking back up again as the economy has regained momentum.
With the uptick, Ander is now looking towards the future by planning a major upgrade in equipment. He is also looking for new locations potentially in Jersey City, another location in Hoboken or other towns in Hudson or Monmouth Counties. The other underlying challenge he sees with Hoboken is the tax burden on businesses. Whether businesses own or lease their space they are helping to shoulder the increasing property taxes that come with that space. He feels businesses that help the local economy by hiring other local businesses should receive more incentives for doing so.
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