CrossFit KLEW opened in 2013. Owner Kathryn Lewis has been growing the business since, mastering branding and apparel along the way.
Currently, the gym sits at:
Below, Lewis dives into KLEW and how it’s grown over time:
At KLEW, we are a community of like-minded people coming together to get better mentally and physically one day at a time. We are a family – #KlewNation! No matter what the individual’s goal is when they join us, at KLEW we do everything in our power to get the individual to achieve that goal. We have members here because they just don’t like working out alone and want to spend the best hour of their day with us. Other members want to lose weight or get stronger. We have some members that want to compete on a high level of sport. And there are some families that just want to be healthy and do something together. The cool thing about KLEW is we are able to cater to all.
What makes us stand out? CrossFit KLEW is a destination. With the professionalism of our coaching, size of our facility and cool factor of our KLEW shop, we tend to have quite a few people drop in to check us out and see what we have going on. Its also really cool to see people from all over the world drop in for a WOD.
I was introduced to CrossFit while I was in college. I was overweight and looking for a change in my fitness routine. A personal trainer of mine at the time was a member at CrossFit Providence in Rhode Island – he dragged me over one afternoon to sit and hangout while a WOD was going on, and I signed up before I left. It was clear from when I walked in the door of CrossFit Providence that it was a group of people trying to get better one day at a time, and I wanted to be a part of the family.
The greatest challenge opening KLEW was the first initial months and growing during those months. It is very hard in the beginning to balance classes versus attendance. For example, you might want to offer eight classes a day but only have 30 members; that makes it very difficult on a small staff to not get burnt out and can be very intimidating to the member who might constantly be in a class of two to three people. Once we hit the 75 member mark it became fun. We could start offering different classes, could afford to hire more staff and start to really grow the Box. The constant balancing of class size versus total membership versus staffing is an ongoing battle to get right – this issue does not go away regardless of your overall size or how long you have been in business.
KLEW is my nickname. My full name is Kathryn Lewis, and KLEW has been what my family and friends have called me since I was little.
I like to build stuff. I like taking a topic or a concept, pulling it apart piece by piece, and turning it into something. For example, I know our “Snack Box” does really well and I know our members are always sipping on coffee when they come into the gym. So I decided it was time to offer a beverage concept with cold brew. I found the right supplier to help me with the project and now we offer KLEW Brew – cold brew coffee – and KLEW ‘Booch – Kombucha tea – on tap. It’s turned into its own business and another offering for our members to take advantage of while they are at the Box.
Two people I contribute most of my success to is my mom and dad. The work ethic they have instilled in me since I was young has taught me so much. They are self made entrepreneurs and have built businesses from the ground up their entire lives. Growing up being surrounded by the most hardworking parents and learning about running businesses my entire life has taught me so many lessons I don’t think I would know this early in my professional career.
The conflict between running a business and being part of a CrossFit community is no simple thing. On the one hand you want to be close to all your members; on the other hand running a Box should be a business and not a hobby. Over time you will find the appropriate balance, but along the way it will be a learning experience that might be a bit of a rollercoaster.
One thing I take extreme pride in and I believe we do extremely well is our KLEW Shop. I went to college for fashion merchandising and retail marketing, so it is my passion to create all the product we have in store and on KLEW.com. We carry over 50 different T-shirt designs, backpacks, socks, shorts, you name it, and we most likely have it in our store, and it most likely has KLEW red white and blue all over it. Our shop has been and will always be our main source of marketing and getting our name out within the community. If you’re a diehard CrossFitter, you know you’re buying a T-shirt at every Box you drop-in to. Who knew the power behind a cool T-shirt could be such a large revenue stream for your business?