Of the boxing franchises, LA Boxing is one of the oldest and largest. Founded in 1992 as a fighters’ gym, the original LA Boxing facility eventually began attracting non-fighters—white collar professionals. One of those professionals was Anthony Geisler, president of an online gaming and software company. In 2003, Geisler bought the gym, later opening a second location before deciding to franchise the concept in 2004.
The growth was fast initially until the recession hit, says Philip Jacobs, director of franchise development. Geisler slowed growth to ensure that existing franchisees could weather the storm.
“The storm clouds seem to have passed,” Jacobs says. “Anthony made the strategic decision to start franchising again. That’s when he recruited me.”
Jacobs joined the company in March 2011 with a 20-year background in franchise development for companies such as Mailboxes Etc., Coldwell Banker and Quiznos.
Today, the Santa Ana, CA-based company has 70 locations (12 of which are company owned) and another 60 under development, according to Jacobs.
In November 2011, the company awarded a flurry of new franchises in Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Texas and Virginia. This spring, the company announced plans to open six locations in New Orleans. It also announced franchise development in its top three growth markets of Philadelphia (10 locations planned in the next two years), Seattle (six locations to open in the next 18 months) and the New York City area (30 locations in the next 24 months).
As the number of open franchises has grown, so has the company’s revenue. In 2009, LA Boxing brought in $3.4 million, growing to $3.5 million in 2010 and $3.7 million in 2011. In 2012, LA Boxing is on track to grow even further, bringing in $1 million in the first quarter, according to Jacobs.
The buzz around mixed martial arts (MMA) has fed into the company’s growth, Jacobs says, and the upcoming boxing competitions slated for the Olympics should continue to fuel that.
The company promotes its hour-long classes as a quick and non-intimidating way to get in shape.
“We believe that boxers are the most well-conditioned athletes in the world, and they did not get like that by getting punched,” Jacobs says. “They got like that by working out and dedicating to a routine. So that is what we’ve done. We took the exercising and the dedication that makes a boxer so well-conditioned and put it in a clean, friendly and welcoming environment suitable to soccer moms, dads and their kids.”