Founded by Gene Schafer in 2005, ARC Athletics® is a New York City-based fitness, sports rehab and performance training facility. ARC Athletics has everything you need to help you reach your fitness goals. Gene’s TriBeCa studio is equipped for general fitness training as well as sport specific functional exercises.
BusinessInterviews.com: How did you know it was the right time to start your own business?
Gene: This question is best answered on both a personal as well as an economic level. First, personally, I had worked as an Athletic Trainer in high school, college and in private clinics. I felt I knew the industry well enough to venture out on my own. I saw a need for private athletic training, something outside of the high school/college setting. Recent years have seen a huge increase in “weekend warriors” who want to stay in shape as well as baby boomers who have aches and pains. This brings me to my second point, which is that the American culture is changing. While we see high levels of obesity there is also an increased interest in staying fit, taking charge of our health and preventing disease. I saw these trends as a perfect time to start a business.
BusinessInterviews.com: In highly competitive NYC – what are some ways that you separate yourself from the competition?
Gene: I have more training than almost every trainer in NYC. I am a Certified Athletic Trainer, which means I need Continuing Education Units to stay certified. I also have Strength and Conditioning certification. In addition, I’ve worked in sports injury prevention and treatment and can pass this knowledge along to clients, which adds value to their fitness sessions.
We also invested in an Alter-G treadmill, the only one in downtown Manhattan. This shows we are serious about fitness and rehab and has given us a way to distinguish ARC Athletics from run of the mill fitness places.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some ways that Arc Athletics has evolved since first opening your doors 8 years ago?
Gene: The biggest evolution was moving the business. While not involuntary, the move has been good for us. Columbia University was expanding into the old neighborhood and took over our old building. We searched for real estate in several areas but settled on the TriBeCa space due to the neighborhood. Also, at this time we raised our prices to fit the more affluent neighborhood. We also were able to buy advertising and do more marketing as the neighborhood had advertising venues.
BusinessInterviews.com: As a small business owner in a major city, do you think that it’s important to develop a presence in your local community beyond traditional marketing methods?
Gene: This is absolutely the case with ARC Athletics. Our motto is “When it comes to your health, we make it personal”. We do advertise with traditional media such as the local papers and blogs but we do a lot of other marketing as well. For Example, we handed out trick or treat bags to local children but also gave an extra bag to the moms with samples of shampoo, conditioner and a coupon. Our children attend local schools so we often donate training sessions to their fundraisers as well as friends’ schools. We shop at the other local small businesses and often buy gift cards from them to give to our clients. We have found that it is very important to be out in the community.
BusinessInterviews.com: What are some trends in the fitness industry that you’re excited about?
Gene: I’m excited that people seem to be taking more care about their health. There is a greater awareness of the role fitness can play in creativity, disease prevention and injury treatment. One trend that is exciting is “pre-hab”, the practice of exercise to strengthen muscles and become more fit before surgery. It helps the healing process.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice would you give to someone who is about to return to fitness after a long break? What should they keep in mind?
Gene: The best advice is to take it slow. Many people get too overexcited and injure themselves. I would suggest 3 days a week of moderate exercise for 30 minutes each day. The sessions would be a combination of cardio and strength training. In week two, they are step up the workouts a bit, if they feel comfortable, by lifting more weight, running a little faster. I would try to get them where they want to be physically in about 6 weeks. It’s a commitment and sometimes takes time.
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