Former ‘Zee Takes Top Job at Tough Mudder Bootcamp
Tough Mudder Bootcamps offer 45-minute high-intensity interval training classes.
With a new CEO in place and the launch of its area representative program, Tough Mudder Bootcamp expects to increase expansion efforts this year after opening just five locations in 2019.
The fitness franchise, which in May 2019 separated from then-parent company Tough Mudder Inc. and its obstacle course events business, is targeting “high-level investors” in an attempt to grow the brand in a boutique fitness segment brimming with competitors. Britt Canady, who was named CEO in January, said Tough Mudder Bootcamp has a “controlled but very aggressive growth strategy,” and benefits from the “national and international brand awareness” that comes with the Tough Mudder name.
That brand awareness was a key factor in Canady’s decision to originally sign a 10-unit deal for the Charlotte, North Carolina, market in summer 2018. As a franchisee, Canady, whose background is as an attorney and banker, including 18 years at Merrill Lynch, said TMB stood out as a health and fitness franchise with staying power. He was “heavy into development” on his first location when he became more involved on the franchisor side, eventually serving as vice president of strategy before taking the helm as CEO.
“I had conviction that the entity could grow rapidly and successfully” separate from Tough Mudder Inc., said Canady, pictured at right, of the studio concept that offers 45-minute high-intensity interval training classes. Seven locations are now open, with others opening soon in Oakland, California, Apple Valley, Minnesota, and Charlotte.
Tough Mudder Bootcamp cycled through several top executives since 2017, parting ways with Cathrin Bowtell as senior vice president and later Don Baxter as president. Former Pure Barre chief executive Michelle Eirinberg Kluz stepped in as interim CEO/head of the TMB business in late 2018 and still serves as board advisor to the leadership team.
Canady noted a “world-class management team” is now in place, including Chief Marketing Officer Valerie Seid, and he’s also installed a director of operations and VP of franchise sales and performance.
Getting a pipeline of franchisees and “attacking the right cities” is up next, said Canady, with the area representative program playing a large, but not outsize role in development. “It’s easy to sell a lot of territories,” continued Canady, who added he’s aware of the potential pitfalls of area rep programs, including the risk of tying up markets for years because development schedules ultimately aren’t followed while also giving up a percentage of the franchise fees and royalties.
“We’re going to be pushing this on a very limited basis,” said Canady. “I want to control the development of this brand at the corporate level,” while finding two or three area reps this year and still signing single and small multi-unit deals.
Under Tough Mudder Bootcamp’s area representative program, reps must open and operate at least one studio of their own (the investment range for a single unit is $377,700 to $560,000) and commit to selling and providing support services for a minimum of 15 TMB locations in their territory. The total investment of a new area representative franchise is $168,200 to $177,750. Area reps then get 50 percent of the initial franchise fees and 40 percent of the royalty as commission for franchises opened in their territory.
Area reps, said Canady, are “people that come with some capital and confidence that they want to create their own ecosystem within the model.”
“The opportunity I’m offering is room to grow,” he said.