When the first CrossFit Outbreak location opened in Brooklyn, New York, it supported Shimi Litkowski enough to transition full-time into the Box.
The second CrossFit Outbreak location did that for co-owner Adam Sturm. “We needed to support ourselves,” said Sturm. “We don’t have an investment in anything else … We knew if we could open one and make it profitable, we had enough money in the bank for a second location. And a year after we opened the first one, we found the right location for a second one, and that happened pretty quickly.”
In summary, Sturm and Litkowski saw the additional locations as opportunity. As of July 2016, CrossFit Outbreak has three locations throughout Brooklyn. Although the idea of being full-time Box owners led to a second location, Sturm said the multiple expansions have also been focused on filling gaps. The three locations are within a 10-minute bike ride of each other, but Sturm said each was chosen to service underserved neighborhoods.
However, Sturm said his initial idea that all three locations would be one big family was debunked. While members have access to each location with their membership, he explained that every branch of CrossFit Outbreak, though geographically close, has its own thriving community. “That was really surprising,” he said. “People will travel for some special events, and they will travel just to see what it is or maybe on the weekend to WOD at another location, but don’t expect the communities to co-mingle that much.”
And Sturm said they keep that true with their Coaches as well. While staff does travel to teach at the various locations, Sturm explained a Coach will have a home base of sorts. For example, Coach Tom will teach at Location A on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He will teach at Location B on Tuesdays and Location C on Thursday. This keeps the Coaches from being spread too thin, said Sturm.
Despite the Boxes hosting different communities, Sturm said the branding and look remained consistent throughout the locations. “We decided to keep the visual the same on all three, the equipment package and the visual,” he explained. “The paint, the colors, everything, as close as we could because we figured it was branding. People come in, they see we’ve got wooden platforms, the squat racks. We’ve got our logo. We’ve got wood walls. We’ve got astro turf.”
Even with the multiple locations, Sturm said it’s key that he and Litkowski remain active in the gyms. Although there is a balance between running a business and living life, Sturm said members appreciate when they see the owners in the Box, loving what they are doing. “We know we need to be involved,” said Sturm. “We know we need to coach. We know we need to handle inventory. We have to be hands on.”