Nostalgia for the 1980s has never disappeared and Retrofitness, a 1980’s themed gym is riding the Spandex waves:

How did you hit on this concept?

I had owned two other licensed fitness centers, and I wasn’t happy with how they were operated. So I spent a couple of nights sitting in a rocking chair, jotting down notes. I felt there was a niche for a low-cost provider that gave a high-end experience. I did the raw math and figured I could be better and attract more customers at $19.99 a month than clubs charging $39 or $49 a month. I could build a cheap gym where you didn’t need a tetanus shot when you left.

Was it a hard sell?

I was all about putting on a show–but vendors bought into my pitch and they sold me equipment at a much higher discount rate. I laugh now because I exceeded even what I told them. I said we’d have 10 clubs the first year; we had 15. I said 30 in Year 2, and we had 40.

Why the ’80s?

We knew Generation X would be a big part of our customer base. I thought, “How can we attract and entertain them?” Eighties movies and ’80s music just make you feel good; when you drop a marketing piece with an Atari joystick on it or Vans sneakers, people say, “I remember that.” And actually, even younger people listen to hair bands. I have kids I coach on a football team who told me they’re going to a Whitesnake concert!