Fiscally Fit in a Tough Economy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 General News J E 4
NEW YORK, Nov. 11 "Thirty minutes for thirty dollars," it's more than a zippy catchphrase. It's the reason ARC Athletics, a private fitness and sports rehabilitation facility in Morningside Heights has seen its client visits jump 18% from September 2007 to September 2008.

While this whipsaw economy has most businesses crying "Uncle!" Gene Schafer, owner of ARC Athletics, has seen revenue jump a heady 54% for the first 3 quarters of this year versus last year. What does he owe it to?

The age-old credo: Location Location Location. The private fitness training and sports rehabilitation facility is serendipitously located atop brisket haven Dinosaur BBQ and across from grocery maven Fairway. The opening of one and the remodeling of the other led to tremendous gentrification of the neighborhood. Schafer's gym filled a need in a developing area when it opened three years ago. His "dollar a minute training sessions" made him affordable. Clients buy private training sessions in 30, 45 and 60 minute increments. "They're the lowest private training rates going in town," says Schafer, "and keep the retention rate high."

And here's the rub. ARC is chugging along on the goodwill and referrals of orthopedic surgeons and clients. No advertising. Schafer makes good use of the Internet. "We just maintain a good website," says the former Columbia University athletic trainer, "and it seems to work out pretty well." Visitors to will notice the company gets its distinctive logo from the spans of the Riverside bridge that run over the facility.

Schafer has been a resident of Morningside Heights since 2001. He's seen the neighborhood and his business grow. "I remember seeing 14 clients total in the first month. Now I average 20 a day!" He's since hired a former colleague from his days working at Columbia. Jason D'Amelio is also a certified athletic trainer, with a Masters degree and a specialization in sports rehabilitation.

Admittedly Schafer had to raise prices over the last year as maintenance costs rose. But his training philosophy has remained the same. He offers a great service at a great price. The client is able to come in more often, works out more often, sees results, and tells his/her friends. Schafer says, "The referral tree is a very big part of our business."

Contact Jason D'Amelio 212-281-6412

SOURCE ARC Athletics


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