NEW YORK, June 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Entrepreneurs looking to start a health fitness franchise might not expect to see the family atmosphere that prevails at the CKO Kickboxing booth #150 at International Franchise Expo this week.
That's because the fast-growing, nationwide cardio kickboxing franchise prides itself on creating a friendly atmosphere for its franchisees -- and are dedicated to helping them succeed with regular training sessions geared for specific business challenges.
In fact, most franchisees started out as club members.
"They liked the workout so much, they bought franchises," said Joe Andreula, Founder of CKO Kickboxing, one of America's fastest-growing franchises according to industry standard Entrepreneur Magazine, which included the kickboxing gym franchise in its Franchise 500 list of best franchises. They also rated CKO Kickboxing as the 48th top new franchise in 2011.
"People who invest in CKO are in for a surprise. They thought they were just investing in a business. They did not expect this to change every part of their lives," he said. "They get into great shape. It changes their lifestyle. Their relationships with their friends and family get better. They never expected that."
CKO Kickboxing is emerging as a leading fitness franchise opportunity.
"It becomes a purpose for their lives. It's not just a business. This is what they love. It's not like work. They love going to the gym. Every day becomes a great day," he said.
"We treat our franchisee owners like they are family, because they are," Andreula said. "They aren't numbers or faceless profit centers. That's why so many people, including military veterans, want to take advantage of our fitness franchise opportunity."
CKO Kickboxing was ranked in the top 10 percent of all franchises and named a 2012 Military Friendly Franchise® by G.I. Jobs Magazine.
The health fitness franchise honors veterans by offering a 20 percent discount on initial franchise fees, so veterans can use their training and operational skills in a new career.
"Like many other CKO Kickboxing franchise owners, I was a member first," said CKO Kickboxing-Jacksonville owner Sarah Bentley, a former Marine Corps Sergeant.
"I love the energy in a kickboxing workout. I love the people. You can see their moods change. You can see their bodies change. They know it and they keep coming. Cardio kickboxing creates healthier, happier people," Bentley said.
People who had never thought about owning a fitness franchise wind up becoming franchisees.
"I was a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids. I was 50 pounds overweight. My mother had uterine cancer because of her weight and I thought, 'That could be me.' I came to CKO Kickboxing and was hooked in my first class. I lost 50 pounds," said Darlene Pallay, who owns CKO Kickboxing franchises in Franklin and Augusta, NJ with her husband Joe Pallay.
"We get to know our members. We call you by name. We know who you are. That's what makes us stand out," she said.
Franchising is a perfect second career for Jimmy Selleck, a former New York City Police Department lieutenant.
"I started taking classes because I was out of shape. I was working at night, eating at odd times and that's a bad recipe," he said. "I fell in love with kickboxing. I lost 35 pounds. It was my calling," said Selleck who now partners with his former trainers, in the CKO-Tottenville franchise in Staten Island.
However, not all franchisees are former members.
"The difference in attitude from big-box health fitness franchises and CKO Kickboxing was like night and day. The people at CKO Kickboxing felt more caring. It was like a family. They want you to succeed. At other franchises, I felt like I was a number," said Garret Renon, owner of CKO-Seattle franchise in Shoreline, WA.
Andreula expects CKO Kickboxing to continue its growth, but only at a level where they can still provide personal training to franchisees and help them succeed.
"Before we choose a location, we choose a key person who can shine. Our franchisees must be passionate, inspirational and want to help others," he says.
Personalized training programs make CKO Kickboxing unique.
"We provide a three-week training program to cover every important business function, like many other franchises. But we do much more. It's a coaching program that adapts to their issues. One person might be competing against a low-priced gym. Another person might be competing against a high-priced gym," he said.
Because of this process, he's never closed a franchise, which is rare in this economy.
For more information about franchise opportunities, call 800-489-1964 or go to http://www.ckokickboxing.com/fitness-franchise.html.
SOURCE CKO Kickboxing