The Start-Up Shop

pro shop

If done right, a pro shop can provide 12 to 15 percent of a Box’s revenue. At least, that’s what Matt Sharp, owner of CrossFit Maximus in Lexington, Kentucky, has found.

“The main thing is to put yourself in the shoes of somebody in your gym that loves you,” he said. “What are the things that they would love to buy from you?”

Originally, Maximus’ pro shop was just stocked with drinks, from Formula O2 to Kill Cliff and FITAID. However, Sharp realized they were missing out on a huge opportunity: apparel.

So, Sharp decided to invest in solid logos and great designs. And it became difficult to keep up with demand.

Ultimately, that’s what a pro shop comes down to: fulfilling members’ wants and needs. At BRICK Los Angeles, Manager Zara Abrams explained their goal is to present a good shopping experience for members. They’ll spend time building displays that not only show off the items sold, but also look and feel part of the brand as a whole.

When BRICK Los Angeles first opened, however, they had to make the pro shop work within their budget. It’s only as BRICK has grown in size and locations that more money can now be spent on the customized look of the shops in each Box. The details of the shop might register on a small level, said Abrams, but each space is designed with a specific purpose in mind.

pro shop

As to what goes on the shelves, Abrams said they listen to their members’ feedback, as well as tailor items sold to the lifestyle they are helping build.

For example, when BRICK first opened, it sold typical “fitness” drinks, like Gatorade. However, Abrams said they soon realized those drinks weren’t the best fit for the average member’s lifestyle at BRICK. Now, with brands like Progenex and Kill Cliff gracing their pro shop’s shelves, she said they are aligning members’ needs with BRICK’s values. “I think carrying specialty products that are specifically targeted at CrossFitters and designed for this lifestyle has been a lot more effective for us than just the basics,” said Abrams.

Jonathan Lopez, owner of CrossFit Little Rock in Little Rock, Arkansas, said it really is finding out why you want to sell a product. When he took over ownership of the Box, it didn’t have a pro shop. He saw a need for it, in terms of offering recovery drinks, supplements, T-shirts and accessories. “We felt like, OK, [members are] going to get these products somewhere, so why not it be here?” said Lopez.

And to put in a pro shop, Lopez simply added shelves and a T-shirt rack, utilizing the space already available in order to minimize the cost of adding an additional revenue stream.

However, every Box is different in terms of what it offers in its pro shop, because it should be driven by membership need. Lopez said the Box where he was previously a member put out a new shirt every two months. But at CrossFit Little Rock, that’s not what his members want. Instead, drop-ins currently buy most of the shirts that he sells at the Box.

On the other hand, Sharp’s apparel is what drives his pro shop. He’ll often release a shirt, and then release one of the same design, but in a different color, six weeks later. Sharp said this keeps members interested in the new apparel. He also loves utilizing limited runs and seasonal shirts.

pro shopIf a gym’s pro shop has a large amount of apparel that is not selling, Sharp advised putting it in storage. Then, bring it out after six to 12 months have passed. “A year later you’re going to have new members that have never seen that shirt,” said Sharp.

It’s beneficial to keep track of what’s not selling, so an owner can take stock in what needs to be changed. Abrams said one way to keep products from sitting on the shelves is by limiting variety. She explained that it’s harder to stock and sell eight different flavors of Progenex than just one or two. “It’s better to start small and then grow as the demand grows,” she said.

One of the largest benefits of Sharp’s pro shop is the boost it gives to the level of service his business provides. “If you do a good job with your pro shop, it will pay for your front desk,” he said. “A lot of people say, ‘I can’t afford a front desk worker.’ Then create a pro shop and pay for your front desk. Now you have better customer service and you have better branding because people are wearing shirts all over town.”

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