CrossFit St. Louis Leads by Example

CrossFit St. Louis athletes at work on the rowers.

JoAnna Dettmann planned to open a Box in St. Louis, Missouri, after she finished her Ironman. Using CrossFit to supplement her Ironman training, she could see immediate results in comparison to her other Ironman training partners. Before long, she introduced her two Ironman partners to CrossFit and the three decided after the Ironman, they would open up a Box together.

However, St. Louis had been home to one of the first Boxes in the U.S., CrossFit St. Louis. The gym was opened in 2006 after its previous owner, Laurie Miller, affiliated over a cup of coffee with Greg Glassman. When Miller got wind that Dettmann and her business partners were looking to open a Box, she promptly offered to sell them her gym.

Four years after purchasing it, CrossFit St. Louis has gone from 2,000 square feet and 40 members to nearly 400 athletes and 15,500 square feet. Dettmann noted it as pretty impressive, especially since the Box started out as a mere passion project — Dettmann had a full-time job of owning her own marketing company.

While it has perhaps been more work than originally anticipated, Dettmann’s marketing experience has been helpful when it comes to branding the Box as a leader in its community. “A consistent brand is huge; a consistent brand and lightly touching, if you will, the community with what is going on,” she said.

Marketing at CrossFit St. Louis is done in a variety of ways: a bi-monthly newsletter, posting on Facebook, running ads on Facebook and Google, print ads, and even local optimization so if someone is driving around the area looking for a CrossFit, he or she will be pointed to St. Louis CrossFit.

As for the print ads, Dettmann explained they put one in a local magazine, as well as a church bulletin, the bulletin targeting stay at home moms in hopes to fill the 9:30 a.m. class.

Whatever marketing technique, it gets tracked. “Everything we do, we track so we know what’s working,” she said. “If I can’t track it, I kind of almost refuse to do [it] because I need to know where my marketing dollars go and I need to make sure they’re working properly. So, analytics is tied to everything we do.”

On top of a wide variety of marketing, Dettmann noted their program variety is large as well: regular WODs, competitors, masters, Oly classes, mobility clinics and high school focused programs. By offering such a wide selection, Dettmann is giving life to the goal of being the best. “I want my members to come in … and feel good about being there, paying that price and getting what they are looking for,” she said. “We put every dollar back into our business to make it better.”

A CrossFit St. Louis athlete preforming wall balls.

Photos by Paul Nordmann

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at