In early 2007, when Jackie Dorris was looking for a workout program that would allow her to take her baby daughter along, she came up empty. "Everywhere I looked in Chicago, there was a mom and a baby," she recalled. "I joined a mom-and-baby class in an effort to meet other mothers, but every day I would come home and cry. None of the moms would talk to each other."
Then she discovered Fit4Mom (formerly known as Stroller Strides). The program designs workouts where women — those pregnant and with infants and toddlers — can meet up in local parks and community centers and exercise while their children are with them — usually in strollers. Dorris liked the mothercentric approach of the business model, the low start-up costs and the fact that the franchisor is always on top of pre- and postnatal fitness trends. "They offer me continuing education and are always providing training in a variety of topics for franchisees, including social media, blogging, budgeting, financials and more," she said.