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Retro Fitness Chain Makes First Chicago-Area Inroads has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

Copyright 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc.
Chicago Daily Herald
By Joshua Welge
Virtual exercise classes, on demand. A cardio movie theater.

Area workout warriors primed to pump iron and burn a few calories are about to get a new place to realize their New Year's resolutions.

New Jersey-based Retro Fitness, a chain that touts a high-energy workout experience at an affordable cost, is opening its first Illinois facility this month at 608 E. North Ave. in Carol Stream.

The 10,500-square-foot facility, complete with vibrant color schemes, will be the first of a proposed 50 to 55 area sites for Retro Fitness.

The chain has evolved from a regional Northeast gym concept since its founding in 2004 to a national fitness system with close to 100 sites in more than 10 states.

"We offer amenities at a reasonable cost," said Charles Cui, owner of the DuPage County location. "Carol Stream is an upper-level demographic, a solid community. It's a great area for our club."

For $19.99 a month, members get top-of-the-line strength and cardio machines, a theater room, tanning and massage services, a juice bar and day care. People can drop by before the Jan. 15 grand opening and sign up with no enrollment fee.

Retro Fitness Chief Executive Eric Casaburi, who appeared on the CBS reality show "Undercover Boss" in 2013, said he has targeted the Chicago market for some time. Retro Fitness also just opened locations in Michigan.

Casaburi fancies his business the fitness chain equivalent of Walmart and JetBlue, negotiating equipment in bulk and passing along the buying power to consumers.

"The market place for middle-of-the-road gyms is very crowded," Casaburi said. "We want to develop a high-end fitness feel without hurting the pocketbook."

Similar to other gyms, Retro Fitness will offer classes ranging from spin to Zumba to circuit training - with a unique twist.

Through Retro On Demand "virtual classes," members can walk up to a kiosk, pick a class and take that class at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level when it fits their personal schedule.

Retro Fitness Carol Stream also will offer members a free mobile app as a "workout companion" where they can track workouts, get demonstrations of proper fitness techniques and upload monthly educational content.

"That way they're not missing the instruction they'd get from a normal class, or it allows them to get acclimated before they join a class," said Paul Schultz, general manager of the Carol Stream gym.

Cardio machines will be complete with individual LCD monitors, with the "cardio movie theater" arranged in a stadium-like theater setting playing movies on a big screen throughout the day.

In the near future, Casaburi expects members to be able to line up preloaded music or video content at home to watch while they're working out at any Retro Fitness club. Surfing the Internet or checking email while working out is the next step on the treadmill into future fitness.

"We're just at the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Photos Courtesy of Retro Fitness Retro Fitness, a chain of gyms founded in 2006 in the northeast part of the country, is opening its first Illinois location Jan. 15 in Carol Stream.
January 5, 2014


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