Opening with the Open

Primary CrossFit

While the plan was to open on January 1, to coincide with fitness-based New Year’s Resolutions many make, the development of Primary CrossFit’s building was not ready.

Instead, on February 1, the Box opened in Chicago, Illinois. The co-owners, Ramon and Stephanie Shalit, had been searching for over a year to find a good location. And though it took a month longer than they wanted to officially open the doors, Ramon said the timing is actually advantageous because of the Open.

Starting at the end of February, the Open’s five weeks of workouts are a test of fitness for the entire CrossFit community. And Ramon believes the community-wide event can help get new members into Primary CrossFit.

“One of the great things about CrossFit and the Open, you can scale anything. So we do really want to encourage it for everyone,” said Ramon.

For the majority of February, he plans to program WODs for beginners as well as workouts that will prepare experienced CrossFitters for the Open.

“I’m thinking that it’s good timing. It can only help. Maybe to some of the newer people, [the Open] may not matter. But for people that are doing CrossFit, I think it’s good timing. Certainly better than opening in April or March and missing it,” said Ramon.

Primary CrossFit

New members will be able to experience two sides of the gym. Primary CrossFit is both a CrossFit gym and a yoga studio. Though the practices seem to be polar opposites, Ramon said CrossFit and yoga actually complement each other. While Ramon will oversee CrossFit, Stephanie — who has been instructing yoga for many years — will oversee the yoga portion. “In a way, they’re opposite ends of the spectrum. One is high-intensity, the other is the complete opposite of that … I do think that people who work out so intensely with CrossFit, to stretch and to do something a little more lower intensity and more along the lines of yoga would definitely benefit,” said Ramon.

Members have the ability to sign up for yoga, CrossFit or both. And because the gym is offering both options, their location was worth the wait. Ramon noted there was not a CrossFit Box or a yoga studio within two miles of their storefront. “We were happy to go to a warehouse, but we managed to get a storefront, which is great for visibility, and in an area where there’s a lot of people, a lot of townhouses and apartments around us. So we thought it fit,” he said.

The Box does not have many members now, but Ramon believes the Open, the location and the ability to choose CrossFit and/or yoga is a marketing strategy in and of itself.

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.