Smart fit and Bio Ritmo group, two major gym chains in South America, have managed to stay afloat despite COVID-19. Combined the two companies had 480 active gyms across South America in 2017, and in that same year, the company earned $190 million in revenue.
Smart Fit is the 5th largest gym in the world, and in South America, it is the largest gym chain. Calculated decision-making by Smart Fit’s management team has allowed the company to expand successfully.
Edgard Corona, a chemical engineer, founded Bio Ritmo in 1996. Initially, the gym chain had one active gym. Edgard Corona was employed by his family’s sugar mill farm before being inspired to launch Smart Fit.
From the beginning, Edgard Corona had aspirations to be an entrepreneur. While in college, he started two businesses, which he sold to work at his family’s sugar mill. Eventually, board members of his family’s sugar mill pushed Corona out of the family business. He then decided to join Bio Ritmo gym as a partner during the gym’s construction.
Edgar’s Corona was inexperienced during the initial phases of launching the business. Bit Ritmo nearly went bankrupt twice, but the business was saved because of a $9,000 billboard purchase and funding received from the investment company Patria.
The beginning of smart fit
Membership fees for Bit Ritmo started at $47. Inspired by the planet fitness low-cost formula, Bit Ritmo launched smart Fit over a decade after establishing Bit Ritmo. Membership Fees for Smart Fit started at $11. Smart Fit’s low membership fees allowed it to compete with local neighborhood gyms. The company was supposed to open 280 new gyms in 2020, but COVID-19 stalled these plans. Smart Fit is still optimistic for the future, though. The company created online training sessions to keep its members active during the lockdown.
The pandemic has forced the company to divert many of its resources to staying afloat, but with everything reopening again, Gym attendance could experience a boom. The sedentary lifestyle many individuals were forced to experience during the lockdown may have given them a chance to think about their overall wellness. Staying active is mandatory for a healthy long life. So, Despite COVID-19, Edgard Corona and Smart Fit have plenty of growing room.