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Frisian startup Open Air Fitness grows to franchise formula

Outdoor fitness is on the rise. Open Air Fitness' approach is new and promising.
The startup from Joure is taking the gym outside.

Forget dragging tractor tires, climbing trees and jumping over boulders. Open Air Fitness is something else entirely. At the growing company, you train outdoors on professional equipment, led by a knowledgeable instructor. This is already possible at several places, because Open Air Fitness is more than a gym. It is a concept. Next year we will have ten locations, and in three years at least forty," says Robin Bruinsma. He is the ambitious founder, who has been working on the concept from within the family business for six years. Last year he brought in entrepreneur Jan de Jonge and marketing expert Melle Renema, among others, to further develop the concept. It now stands, and is ready for scaling up. 'Open Air Fitness has become a franchise formula. We support the entrepreneurs from all sides.'

A converted, intensively treated shipping container is invariably the focal point of the outdoor sports school. Training is done at the container, on the accompanying floor outside much more. Conditioning, HIIT, strength, fun, recovery, everything is offered. 'We help franchisees open their own outdoor gym. We provide the hardware, but also education, marketing, training formats. We help draw up a business plan, find a suitable location, attract many members, and apply for funding.'

We help franchisees open their own outdoor gyms.
Robin Bruinsma, founder Open Air Fitness

That concept is catching on. 'When we publicized our story earlier this year, we received forty applications in a month. We decided that we mainly wanted to serve independent entrepreneurs. They have a nice new revenue model. At night their members exercise, during the day they use their outdoor sports school for all kinds of activities such as company outings or workshops.'

To get up and running quickly, Open Air Fitness applied for a startup loan from the Frisian Development Corporation (FOM). After seeing the startup's comprehensive business plan, Kyra Weaver did not hesitate for long. "This is a startup that is already much further along than most. The team is right, the ambition and enthusiasm are contagious. Moreover, they have thought about everything and done a lot of research on the market. This is quality.'