Big gyms really seem to be having an unexpected moment in Philly right now: City Fitness just opened their beautiful new Fishtown location (with more on the way), SWEAT Fitness just announced their plans to open a brand-spankin’-new Center City flagship location (the opening’s been pushed to March, FYI), Life Time just announced that they’ll be opening three new area fitness clubs this year (yes, there are waterslides involved), and now this: Blink Fitness, a no-frills spinoff launched by Equinox in 2011, plans to open four Philly-area locations between now and 2018.
The Blink Fitness concept sounds like a lot like the Whole Food’s more budget-friendly 365 concept, just in the fitness market: they’re taking a frills-free, cost-cutting approach to give folks a somewhat similar experience to the higher-priced counterpart. As Blink president Todd Magazine told Yahoo Finance back in January, “If you think back to when the economy was sputtering in the late 2000s, a lot of folks were trading down from the mid-price gyms. And folks at Equinox were looking at that and said, ‘Maybe there’s an opportunity to bring the magic of Equinox to a different concept in the value space.’”
And, voila! Blink Fitness — a colorful, brightly lit gym that, in an effort to cut costs and keep memberships at their $15-per-month starting point, doesn’t offer icing-on-the-cake amenities like towel service, or group fitness classes or saunas — was born. So they don’t have the fancy stuff, but they’ve got what you need to get a good workout in — treadmills, weights, and so on — in an atmosphere that’s purposefully designed to not feel like your typical $15-per-month gym. They now have over 50 locations in the New York area, with a Philly expansion planned for the first half of this year.
Another interesting way Blink differentiates themselves from other gyms is by focusing on the mood-elevating experience of going to a gym (helloooo, mental health) rather than the muscle-boosting benefits: They call their employees Mood Lifters (really), they say the signature colors used around their gyms are scientifically proven to boost mood, and quotes on their walls read, “Exercise isn’t just about looking good.” Interesting, huh?
Just don’t expect to find them in Rittenhouse: Another way they keep their costs down is by avoiding prime real estate areas. They’ve signed leases for four locations in the Philly area, with three of those locations slated to open in the second quarter of 2017 and one aiming for the first quarter of 2018. Here’s where you’ll find ‘em: 330 West Oregon Avenue at Whitman Plaza in South Philly, 8914 Frankford Avenue at Shelly Plaza in the Northeast, the Shoppes at Wissinoming in the Northeast, and 498 Beverly Rancocas Road in Willingboro, New Jersey.
These are the locations they’re starting with but they say they plan to open many more outposts in the Philly market in the future. Here’s to $15 fitness!
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