Hollywood Fitness Craze AKT Taps Goldman Sachs Exec to Break Into Westchester
The insanely popular dance-based training program is set to make its first foray into the county. We sat down with the man spearheading the operation.
AKT, the cardio-focused dance/fitness hybrid training program developed by celebrity trainer Anna Kaiser, has been popularized by the likes of Kelly Ripa, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Shakira, and — as hips don’t lie — has spread rapidly beyond the Hollywood crowd.
Chosen to lead the brand’s newest bought of expansion is Colin Kennedy, a Harvard alum with executive-level bona fides from companies such as Goldman Sachs and American Express. This new wave will see four new studio locations over the next two years in AKT’s native Los Angeles, lower Manhattan, and for the first time ever, Westchester County. We caught up with Kennedy to find out how the company is planning to handle its new 914 area code.
So first and foremost, four new franchise locations in three locations: Is Westchester getting more than one AKT studio?
The intent would be to start with at least one in Westchester with the possible option to expand. The whole company is committed to the quality of the operation and really focused on ensuring we have a really high quality studio to start, and we'll only open a second if we feel really great leveraging two in the area.
Can we say yet where in Westchester will be getting it first? About where are we in the planning and development stages?
It will be finalized soon; we don't know the exact location, but we're most likely looking at lower Westchester. There are a few locations that we're negotiating. Real estate is an interesting process, so I'm trying not to over-promise but I could comfortably say it’s in mid-to-late stages; we’re very focused on getting one off and running as soon as possible early this year.…I think Q3 is the most realistic time.
Obviously we know that Westchester is great, but what was the big draw for AKT to move up from the city?
The demand has been phenomenal. We're still having people who we know actually coming down from Westchester into the city to the existing studios, the folks who are exposed to AKT and are actually looking for it. I think there's a lot about it that just really seems to resonate with folks.
There has also been a really solid message from a lot of people — whether it's across social media or they’ve reached out directly — saying, “Hey, there’s just nothing like this.”
I think people in Westchester are really savvy, balanced fitness users and that they want an amazing workout. But they also want one that's holistic in its approach that is really, really efficient; that is also fun. From looking at all the options out there, I just really didn’t find any other one, but AKT that offers that.
To get a feel for an AKT class, check out the video below.
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