Retro Fitness’ Largest Deal Ever Launches Project LIFT to Serve Communities of Color

Retro Fitness, West Palm Beach, Florida, has launched Project LIFT, a company initiative to open 500 health clubs in 50 Black and Brown communities across the United States during the next five years, Retro Fitness announced on May 11.

Seventy locations are already in development in Dallas, Houston and Southeast Florida through an area development agreement with BlackRock Impact Opportunities Fund and James Collins, founder and CEO of Eastwood Capital Partners. This is the largest development deal ever for Retro Fitness, the company shared.

African American and Non-Black Hispanic citizens have a higher obesity rate than other ethnic groups, regardless of socioeconomic status, according to a study completed by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The initiative will spearhead change and bring affordable exercise, health and fitness solutions to these communities, making a significant difference there, Retro Fitness CEO Andrew Alfano said in the announcement. (Alfano teased the announcement in this video interview recorded in February.)

Collins said in the announcement: “Retro Fitness’ intentionality with Project LIFT greatly appealed to me as there’s an opportunity to make a real impact by providing a true sense of community, expansive job opportunities and access to a high-quality health club at an attainable price point. This partnership is a huge accomplishment for me, both personally and professionally, as we raise awareness on the importance of physical fitness while giving back to these Black and Brown communities financially, and I encourage others to join us as we eagerly, and aggressively, expand."

Franchisee opportunities are open to anyone, Retro Fitness COO Todd Scartozzi told Club Industry.

“Project LIFT is a universal program open to everyone as long as the clubs positively impact Black and Brown communities,” he said. “The initiative is about bringing exercise, health and fitness along with education and jobs to Black and Brown communities, and we encourage franchisees of all cultural and racial diversities to make a serious commitment to further these interests.”

Part of the Project LIFT initiative involves waiving the franchise fee for investors and offering 50 percent off year one royalties. Additionally, Retro Fitness will donate a percentage of its royalties back to an organization within the community for the life of the business.

Retro Fitness offers a full suite of services to franchisees: real estate site selection and negotiation, construction and delivery of a turnkey box, dedicated area managers, a support center for training and development, an in-house media agency and call center.