Buy Black: Orangetheory Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness, founded in 2010, utilizes a personalized, high intensity approach to help clients achieve their health and body goals. The brother-sister duo—Derek Hearne and Adryenne Hearne Alvarez, opened their Orangetheory Fitness franchise in Oak Park, Illinois in May 2015. Attracted to the Orangetheory experience and then to company’s desire to grow quickly; the Hearne siblings understood the business model and liked it. Opening the second location 14 months later in Frankfort and the third location, coming soon, in Chicago-South Loop, they are in sync with the company’s flourishing goals. Early next year, the fourth location opens in Hyde Park. Adryenne says, “Orangetheory is an option to experience fitness like you never have before.”

JET: What inspired you to franchise with Orangetheory Fitness?

Adryenne: My brother and I talked about opening some sort of family business for years; both of us have a corporate background. While I was traveling for work one day, I saw Orangetheory Fitness in the shopping center of the hotel I was staying in. I was looking for a new workout for myself. I signed up for a 60-minute class. You get a personal coach which I liked because I like guidance. I looked around the studio and I liked how the business was packaged. I got home and called my brother. I said I think I may be on to something. We did the research on the brand and franchise, looked at the numbers and we jumped all over it.

JET: How did you fund the business?

Adryenne: We got a small business loan. So for the first two studios, we worked with the Small Business Administration. For the others, we’re working with Apple Pie Capital, which is a one-of-kind company that focuses on franchises. They’ve been really great to work with.

JET: What is your marketing strategy or how do you draw clients?

Derek: We go with a multi-pronged attack. What works for Frankfort doesn’t necessarily work in Oak Park and vice versa. There’s a part you have to figure out to be market specific. Along with mailers, we have an awesome social media presence showing all the different things we do in-studio from weight loss challenges to charity burns. It’s a layered approach.

JET: How do you find your trainers?

Adryenne:  Our personal trainers have to be certified. Orangetheory requires another set of certification called OT Fit. It’s a week long, hands-on training, eight hours a day. It’s pretty much an audition. At the end, they found out if they’ve made it. I am a personal trainer, so I can train someone if I need to, but our clients love our coaches. It’s like when you find a stylist who does your hair really well—it’s a personal choice, they have their favorites and I don’t interfere with that. We have a great team of coaches.

JET: What are your future goals for your business?

Adyrenne:  Grow the brand and spread the word about Orangetheory. We want to get the communities where we’re located stimulated to get up and move. We always try to reach that individual that has less motivation or maybe has some injury and they just don’t know what to do. Our goal is to get our clients to incorporate Orangetheory into their lifestyle—whether you’re a working mom or seasoned athlete, all fitness levels can get moving and see results.

JET: What is the most challenging aspect of owning this business?

Derek: Coaches. Finding the best because we only hire the best —they are the heart and soul of the studio. We’ve been extremely blessed to have coaches that get results. If you have great coaches, you can create the culture you want to achieve.

JET: What has been the most rewarding aspect?

Derek: I didn’t realize there would be such a rewarding component to being an entrepreneur with Orangetheory Fitness. We’re actually helping people change their lives. I’ve never worked anywhere that has such a profound effect on people.

JET: What’s it like working with your sibling?

Adryenne: People ask us how we can work together so closely. Derek and I are three years apart; we’re like clones of each other. We mesh really well. We also know exactly when to divide and conquer.

Joicelyn Dingle travels to find the Coolest Black Family in America exclusively for She splits her time between Savannah and Brooklyn. She is currently completing a documentary on the making of Honey magazine and the 1990s urban publishing era. Friend her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter @editorialgenius.