The local boxing group Bash—which has two locations in Arlington—will likely broaden its reach soon. The group recently announced that it will expand into franchising, initially opening more locations in the DMV and eventually throughout the country.
Bash opened its first studio in 2018 and its second in 2019. During the workout, athletes switch between boxing intervals and strength-and-HIIT exercises. The group also offers virtual, at-home classes.
It may seem like a strange time to expand a fitness business, as many former studio devotees have stopped frequenting spots during the pandemic. Currently, Virginia and Montgomery County are limiting the capacity of indoor workout classes, while they’re banned altogether in DC. A list of local studios have closed since March, and at-home groups like Peloton and Mirror are flourishing.
But Bash CEO Alexandra Trakas is banking on the idea that the boutique fitness studio world is far from collapsing. “The whole reason I started Bash was to attach a feeling to working on yourself in a room with other people, because you cannot get that feeling at home,” says the 32-year-old. “You just push yourself so differently when you’re in a room full of people.”
While Bash initially took a hit during the first months of the pandemic, the business is doing well overall, says Trakas. Virginia is currently limiting indoor fitness classes to 10 people, but Bash has added more daily classes to offset the capacity limits. Each class has been consistently full and waitlisted, says Trakas, and each Bash location gained 40 new members this month.
Trakas doesn’t anticipate opening a franchise location until early 2022, when the pandemic is (hopefully) behind us. But Bash’s ability to pivot and thrive despite the pandemic’s obstacles is a testament to how much folks value their health and fitness, she says—especially during a public health emergency. “We need to grow these communities now more than ever,” she says.