breaking news

Palm Beach pastor linked to pedophile priest scandal

Orangetheory Fitness founder opening hundreds of new gyms nationally


Dave Long’s timing might have been better. The entrepreneur launched his fitness concept during the depths of the Great Recession, and his comparatively steep prices seemed out of step with the frugal mood of the times.

“Pretty much everybody thought it was a horrible idea,” recalled Long, head of Boca Raton-based Orangetheory Fitness. “We were selling primarily $99 and $159 memberships. People who didn’t understand what we did were comparing us to Planet Fitness for $10 or $20 a month.”

Seven years later, Orangetheory Fitness is a bona fide hit. The company has sold 850 franchises nationwide and boasts 140 employees at its Boca headquarters.

Orangetheory landed on the Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately held ventures for three years in a row before falling to number 926 in 2017. Orangetheory’s annual revenue of $40.7 million in 2016 means it’s hard for the company to sustain its fast path of growth.

Exercising at Orangetheory means donning a heart-rate monitor, then embarking on a workout that includes intense bursts of activity on treadmills and rowing machines. The goal? Pushing your heart rate to the “orange zone,” or about 83 percent of maximum effort.

The science behind the workouts helps Orangetheory justify its monthly fees.

“If there’s value in the product, people are willing to pay for it,” Long said.

While prices vary by region, monthly fees at the South Florida gyms range from $59 for one workout a week to $169 for unlimited sessions.

As Orangetheory expands, Long said he finds plenty of demand for memberships and franchises. But one challenge is finding spaces that fit its 3,000-square-foot format.

Orangetheory scooped up a number of empty Blockbuster Video locations, but now that those spaces have disappeared, the company is scouring shopping centers for space. In some cases, tenants such as LA Fitness have the power to block Orangetheory from taking neighboring spots.

Before launching Orangetheory, Long was an executive at Massage Envy while it added hundreds of locations. Later, he worked as a consultant to European Wax Center, an expansion-minded chain of salons.

A University of Florida graduate, Long achieved a longtime goal of landing on the top spot on the Gator100, the list of fastest-growing businesses run by UF alumni. The orange in Orangetheory is unrelated to his alma mater’s color scheme. Long said he was looking for a catchy color to build a brand around.

Long started the company in Fort Lauderdale, and in 2016 he moved his headquarters to Boca Raton. A self-described fitness junkie, Long has equipped Orangetheory’s main office with an employee gym, along with a yoga studio and nap pods.

Hometown: I grew up in Spring Hill, north of Tampa. Now I live in Delray Beach.

First job: For the summer before I turned 16, I started a residential window-washing company with two other guys. We charged $40 to $75 per house. We learned how hard it is to do outside sales. We didn’t have a real scalable business model. Once we went through the customer base that saw value in our business, we were out of customers. After I turned 16, I started working at a grocery store. I’d been hanging out at a General Nutrition Center, and I bugged the guy there until he hired me. That job was more in line with my passion.

Best business advice you’ve received: Be relentless. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. By really sticking with it, you can accomplish a lot.

Best business book you’ve read: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It sounds like it runs counter to the idea of working hard, but it’s really about strategy, about getting results and thinking differently. For so many people who become successful, success comes with just an endless rat race of work and email. One of the big things is really managing your email, instead of letting your email manage you. That’s something we really stress here at our headquarters — getting off the hamster wheel. I’ve improved, but I was a real slave to email for a while.

Biggest business challenge: There’s a whole bunch of things going right. We’ve got so much growth going on that the biggest challenge is being able to find the right talent in areas like technology. And right now, we’re looking for 500 new locations for studios. There’s just a lack of space in the shopping centers where we want to be. So real estate is our other big challenge.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

Pebb comes back from tragedy with Tesla dealer, Gander Mountain site
Pebb comes back from tragedy with Tesla dealer, Gander Mountain site

Tesla will open a new dealership and service center in West Palm Beach, thanks to a Palm Beach County real estate firm that’s bouncing back after a tragedy nearly three years ago. Earlier this week, Pebb Enterprises became the owner of the empty Gander Mountain store at Interstate 95 and Northlake Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens...
Cool the room with a smart air conditioner
Cool the room with a smart air conditioner

Just in time for the real heat of the summer, GE Appliances has a new smart air conditioner that keeps you from breaking a sweat to control the flow of cooler air with voice assistants. You won’t even have to get out of bed to adjust the air during bedtime hours. With a simple command to your iPad, iPhone or Apple Watch to access Apple Home app...
Could blockchain technology transform homebuying?
Could blockchain technology transform homebuying?

From the opening bid to the close of the sale, the process of buying a house is likely the most convoluted, complex and redundant that most consumers face. Blockchain technology could change that — eventually. In Illinois, officials at the Cook County recorder’s office want to clear the way. Meanwhile, technology firms are attacking all...
Banned in other cities, Bird electric scooters arrive in Kansas City
Banned in other cities, Bird electric scooters arrive in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — About a hundred Birds flocked to Kansas City. But these Birds don’t fly. They scoot. The Los Angeles-based scooter rental company, Bird, lets users of their app find electric scooters near them, unlock them using the app, and pay as they go. It’s in more than 20 cities nationwide. The company tracks the scooters...
Google’s human-like speaking AI will soon book reservations
Google’s human-like speaking AI will soon book reservations

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — After generating buzz and controversy with its unveiling, Google’s human-like speaking assistant Duplex will be released to select users and businesses this summer, the company announced recently. Google Duplex was introduced in May at the online search giant’s I/O developers’ conference in Mountain View...
More Stories