What's New: CrossFit NapTown

November 16, 2011
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Welcome to What’s New Wednesday, where we profile local startups—and the entrepreneurs behind them. This week, we meet Peter Brasovan and Jared Byczko, who opened CrossFit NapTown last month.

Type of business: fitness center

Address: 609 N. Delaware St.

Phone: 632-8820

E-mail: info@crossfitnaptown.com            

Website: crossfitnaptown.com

Founded: October 2011

Owners: Peter Brasovan and Jared Byczko

Owners’ backgrounds: Childhood friends Jared Byczko and Peter Brasovan left hometown Merrillville for Indianapolis to play soccer at IUPUI, then went their separate ways after graduation.

The business majors, both 27, spent a few years working in sales and marketing jobs, staying active—and competitive—by doing CrossFit strength and conditioning workouts. Developed about 10 years ago, the fitness program is built around high-intensity exercises that change every day.

Jared Byczko, CrossFit NapTownJared Byczko coaches a member at CrossFit NapTown.(IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Brasovan began by following Workouts of the Day (WOD, in CrossFit parlance) posted online, and exercised at CrossFit Chicago when his schedule allowed. Before long, he earned CrossFit coaching certification and went to work at the Chicago gym.

His enthusiasm caught the attention of Byczko, who was living in the Virgin Islands with friends when he started doing WODs on his own. He also became a certified coach, and the men began looking for a site for their own CrossFit “box.”

Although other CrossFit affiliates had established operations in Indianapolis, the partners identified a hole in the market and set their sights on a downtown location.

Why started business: “I literally fell in love with it,” Brasovan said of discovering the CrossFit community. And as a big believer in the benefits of the program—embraced by military and police trainers, among others—he wanted to help others see the light.

The concept is simple: constantly varied, functional movements done at a high intensity—though exercises can be adjusted to fit individual fitness levels. It’s also decidedly low-tech: CrossFit boxes typically are equipped with basics like barbells, pull-up bars and rowing machines.

Once Brasovan got Byczko hooked, their business degrees got a workout. The national CrossFit organization offers training for coaches and licenses its name, but affiliates are on their own from there.

The partners put together a business proposal, sales forecast and cash-flow projections. Then they rented a Delaware Street building that once housed an FBI tactical team, laid down about 2,600 square feet of rubber flooring and bought equipment.

“We love this city and we believe CrossFit has a tremendous potential downtown,” Byczko said.

“It’s a great opportunity, a great market,” Brasovan concurred. “There are boot camps, yoga studios [and gyms] but nothing like CrossFit, built around community. We want to make this a place people enjoy coming to.”

Competitive advantage: That sense of community is what Byczko and Brasovan say distinguishes CrossFit NapTown from other fitness facilities.

“This isn’t a place where you’re going to come in, put on your headphones and jump on a treadmill,” Byczko said.

For starters, all workouts are conducted in a class setting. Six hour-long sessions are scheduled weekdays, two on Saturdays and one on Sundays. And classes are small, at least for the time being, so members get one-on-one attention from the coaches.

Occasional team workouts also give members the chance to get to know one another, something else Brasovan said sets the gym apart.

Three membership levels are available, depending on usage: unlimited visits ($135 per month), three days a week ($115 a month) and two days a week ($99 a month).

Startup cost: The partners declined to share specifics, citing competitive concerns.

Funding source: personal savings, family contributions

Potential problem and contingency plan: Attracting and keeping members is a primary concern at any fitness facility, Byczko said.

The partners believe CrossFit NapTown’s location will be a draw, along with the “positive, uplifting” atmosphere they are working to establish there. (And the free parking out back doesn’t hurt, either.)

Although fitness crazes come and go—Jane Fonda Workout, anyone?—Brasovan and Byczko believe CrossFit has some staying power. And even if the brand falls out of vogue, they are confident members will come back as long as the workout stays challenging.

“As long as we have a good, quality product, we’ll still be here,” Brasovan said.

First-year goal: The partners want to build their client roster to the point where 100-plus members are participating in classes every day. They also have big plans for the 5,500-square-foot facility, which offers plenty of room to grow.

A locker room is on the wish list, along with a member lounge and an exterior sign. So far, the city fees for a sign permit have been prohibitive. There’s no room in the startup budget for such luxuries.

“We’re a small business,” Brasovan said. “We keep the lights off and the heat low.”

    When I met Peter in Chicago, as I opened my own CrossFit box, River North CrossFit, I knew he had what it takes to not only open a CrossFit box, but build an amazing business! If you haven't tried CrossFit take the leap and you will never go back! Congrats Peter and Jared!!! I'm always here for tips! We have been blessed with 200 members in 3 short months and I hope you have similar success!
  • Jazzercise has not gone!!
    Congrats to Peter and Jared on their new business venture. BUT folks, Jazzercise is not a fitness trend that has come and gone. Jazzercise has been around for 42 YEARS and is still going strong!! How many other fitness programs can make that claim? I wish nothing but the best of luck to Peter and Jared with Cross Fit. But I've been teaching Jazzercise for 8 years and it's NOT GONE!!
  • Jazzy is alive and well
    Hey! Wait a minute!!! Let's see if Crossfit is still around in 42 years....we are alive and well, thank you very much! :-)
    I own and operate 50 Jazzercise classes on the northeast side of Indy....38 of which are in a free standing studio in the Geist area and the other locations are in Fortville and Pendelton....additional we have more than 10 independent franchisees in the Indy area besides me....

    Please go to www.jazzercise.com and see for yourself.....and...
    check out my local site on facebook....
    Maybe the writer of the article needs to do some research!!?!
    In Health
  • Jazzercise
    I challenge the writer of this article to attend a Jazzercise class herself and see we are not dead and gone! And funny thing... our business has been focused on having a positive, uplifting, group exercise program for over 40 years. Best of luck to Peter and Jarod. I just wish the journalists who say these things in an attempt to be clever would do some research before writing things that could damage other small businesses in the community.
  • My apologies
    I removed the Jazzercise reference from the blog post above. I certainly never intended to offend anyone or give the impression that it no longer existed.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.