Retrofitness Partners With Private Equity Firm

COLTS NECK, NJ -- Retrofitness, a 1980s-themed club company that has 39 clubs in operation and 80 more in development, recently announced a partnership with Lake Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm that invests in service-based companies.

The partnership will aid Retrofitness in its expansion across the country. Most of the Retrofitness clubs are operating in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with a few clubs also in Massachusetts, Delaware, Florida and Connecticut. All Retrofitness clubs that are open to date are owned and operated by franchisees.

“We were in a very good pole position in the race, and they wanted to capitalize by adding some extra fuel to our engine,” Retrofitness founder and CEO Eric Casaburi says of Lake Capital.

Casaburi, who did not disclose the amount of the transaction, says he remains a large equity stakeholder in the partnership.

“It’s not a typical private equity deal where the equity owner gets a small percentage and the equity firm has a huge percentage,” Casaburi says. “Their feeling, in my opinion, was the vision of the company will continue to grow with my entrepreneurial skill, but they will add to that skill set for me. They will bring in the resources for me to grow Retrofitness and make it a top brand in our industry.”

Casaburi would like to have 100 clubs by 2009, 200 by 2010 and at least 300 by the start of 2011. Another goal of the company, Casaburi says, is to have twice as many franchised clubs as corporate clubs.

Retrofitness clubs feature color schemes and music from the 1980s. A main attraction of Retrofitness clubs is the RetroTheater, a cardio room in which movies from the 1980s are played on a movie screen. The RetroTheater is featured in the September issue of Club Industry’s Fitness Business Pro.

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