Health and Wellness

Barry's Bootcamp debuting new spin concept amid rumors of a sale

Barry's Bootcamp to launch new spin studio called Barry's Ride in New York City and Los Angeles.
Credit: Barry's Bootcamp

Barry's — formerly Barry's Bootcamp — one of the original boutique fitness brands, which launched in 1998, is taking cycling alongside SoulCycle and Peloton, with a new indoor spin concept called Barry's Ride.

The Los Angeles-based company offers 50-minute classes that alternate intervals of running on a treadmill and lifting weights, all against a backdrop of loud music and disco lights. Now Barry's is set to open two spinning studios on Feb. 18 — one in New York City and one in Los Angeles, both near existing Barry's locations. Prices range from $30 to $38 a class for both its regular and spinning classes.

"One might think of the cycling world as being saturated," Joey Gonzalez, CEO of Barry's tells CNBC Make It, when asked about whether the company was taking on SoulCycle and Peloton with its new studios. But Barry's concept is different, he says: "It's basically the same 'red room' experience [as Barry's], just instead of running, it's cycling."

Credit: Barry's Bootcamp

The move comes amid rumors of a potential sale of Barry's that could begin early this year, according to an October Bloomberg report that cited people familiar with the matter.

Barry's, which is majority-owned by private equity firm North Castle Partners, could be valued at around $700 million, according to Bloomberg.

(Streaming fitness company Peloton, which sells both bikes and treadmills and has a handful of studios, has a market cap of $8.1 billion. SoulCycle, which had more than 90 studios as of August, is majority-owned by Equinox. It reportedly considered seeking an approximately $900 million valuation when it filed for an IPO in 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal. It withdrew its filing in 2018.)

Both Gonzalez and North Castle declined to comment on the Bloomberg report or a potential sale.

Gonzalez says he originally had the idea to launch a spin concept back in 2010, four years after Soulcycle launched and a year after Flywheel. Peloton was founded in 2012 and gained momentum in 2013 after a Kickstarter campaign.

"We've been kicking around [this idea] for a very, very long time," Gonzalez says.

For years, he says, Barry's customers have been asking for other forms of cardio to help offset injuries (running can be hard on the knees, for example). However, Gonzalez says the brand likes to take things slow when building out a new concept. For example, while other brands like OrangeTheory have grown to 1,200 locations since 2010, Barry's sticks to a 20% to 30% growth plan each year. Barry's has more than 70 locations in 14 countries and Gonzalez says there are plans to open 20 more studios in 2020.

However in 2018, Barry's launched Release, a dynamic stretching and mobility class, and debuted Lift, a weight lifting only concept. Barry's also officially dropped "Bootcamp" from its name in November.

Though Gonzalez wouldn't disclose sales numbers he says the new spin studios are not an attempt to "make up for lost revenue." (In August CNBC reported that Barry's Bootcamp had grown more than 40% in the just the last year.)

According to an August report from the International Health, Racquet & SportsClub Association, boutique fitness brands like Barry's, Soulcycle and OrangeTheory made up about 40% of the $32 billion health club fitness industry in 2018.

However, while growth is still strong at the moment, some analysts warn boutique brands could hit a slowdown if a recession hits.

Correction: This story has been revised to correct that the company changed its name to Barry's in November.

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