Jabz Boxing, a female-focused gym that emphasizes fitness over fighting, is scoping out greater Wilmington for a new location.
The fitness chain recently made a push into the mid-Atlantic region with new locations in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania and Voorhees, New Jersey. Delaware is the next target market, due to its central location and population density.
"Looking at the target market and working with our commercial realtor, we've located some hot spots along the East Coast," said Kimberlee White, co-founder of Jabz Boxing. "Delaware has great demographics that match up with what Jabz is looking for."
White said there could ultimately be four to five locations in the state. The company is currently seeking a franchisee to open one of two possible locations in the Wilmington area.
The Jabz Boxing model offers high-intensity workout routines tailored to women who want the physical benefits of boxing without the focus on fighting or competition. Workouts include cardio, strength training and boxing exercises, such as speed bag and shadow boxing routines.
Inspiration for the concept came back in 2012. White had done a boxing circuit herself and liked the workout routines, but she didn't feel comfortable in the male-dominated environment.
Through Len Hayko, her partner and a boxing promoter at the time, she learned that other women felt the same way. "He was getting approached by a lot of women who said "˜hey I want to train, these boxers are in great shape, but I don't want to fight," she said.
White and Hayko then teamed up to open the first Jabz Boxing in Scottsdale, Arizona. They invested in a small warehouse, handled all the demolition themselves, and hired a local welder to build a boxing ring.
Six months later, a member approached them about opening another location in a nearby community. So they borrowed more money, developed a franchise disclosure agreement, which is a legal document presented to prospective buyers, and sold their first franchise just one year after opening.
Growth was slow for the next couple of years, but it's accelerated in the last four years. They sold three locations in 2015, five in 2016 and 10 in 2017. The chain has a total of 20 locations across the country.
White said she anticipates signing the paperwork for the Wilmington location by June 5. The new gym should open its doors within the next three to six months.
Jabz is talking with a number of possible franchisees, all of whom are women.
"Most of our franchisees are former clients or women looking to get into business for themselves at a fairly low price point," White said. "You can open up a Jabz studio for anywhere from a $100,000 to $150,000."