CrossFit Fever Outbreak in Brooklyn

“CrossFit in the park” sounds like it could be a movie title, but for Shimi Litkowski and Adam Sturm, it was a marketing technique.

The owners of CrossFit Outbreak, set to open this October in Brooklyn, New York, had done a lot of research online for marketing and promotion ideas. One stuck out: holding a free boot camp.

So, they did at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. During the first week, only two people showed up. By the third week, there were 21 participants. “I say to people during the classes, ‘It’s a CrossFit workout without weight, and we’re here just to spread the word about our gym and turn people on to CrossFit. We hope that you join but if you don’t, just keep coming back until we’ve stopped. It’s on you. We’re just doing this for free to promote the gym,’” said Sturm.

Litkowski has been a CrossFit Coach for about a year now, pursuing coaching after becoming fed up with the lack of good form he continually saw at various Boxes. Sturm had never desired to coach, but he did want to break away from his family’s printing company. “I just wanted to have something else where I had a little more freedom and I was really doing something that I loved,” said Sturm.

The Box will be geared toward CrossFit beginners more than any other segment. Litkowski explained they’re hoping the gym will simply be an avenue to get people into fitness. “We’re just trying to spread the word, trying to introduce everyone because from what we understand, there’s not a lot of gyms in the area of the Fort Green-Clinton Hill area, and we just want to promote and get people into the healthy lifestyle and just get people moving at least.”

However, that doesn’t mean CrossFit Outbreak will only cater to beginners. Sturm explained they will be taking CrossFit HQ’s programming and will simply scale it. That way when members are ready for something more, the transition to harder workouts will be easy.

But, that is farther in the future. For right now, Litkowski and Sturm are focused on getting their gym set up. One of the things that has worked for them in this stage is to lease equipment. By doing so, it has allowed them to keep cash on hand in case expensive, unexpected hurdles pop up.

Another has to do with marketing. Sturm said they used three techniques that seem to be working well: the boot camp, a press release and brochures. “We really pushed those brochures … We got a real response off of people,” said Sturm. “They’re like, ‘Yeah, we saw your brochure.’”

The use of brochures seems to be different than what most Affiliates implement in terms of marketing. Most stick to social media. “Social media will get you so far,” Sturm said. However, he added they did see its benefits after advertising on Facebook. “It gave us real status and currency online.”

By the time CrossFit Outbreak opens, Sturm said they hope to have 50 to 75 members. And after the first three months, he hopes that number is over 100. “We think we can do it,” he said. “We’ve got some good Coaches lined up, and we’re ready to go.”

Heather Hartmann
Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at heather@peakemedia.com.