Professional dancer and choreographer Richard Giorla developed Cardio Barre, a high-energy, no-impact exercise routine, after an injury that prevented him from continuing his career.
Soon after, Giorla opened his first Cardio Barre space in Studio City. That was nearly a decade ago, and he quickly gained a following among workout fanatics and Hollywood stars.
Thanks to his success there, Giorla began franchising the Cardio Barre concept three years ago; the newest Cardio Barre studio, the fifth franchise, opened in Hollywood earlier this month.
Giorla, who trained in ballet and later danced with Michael Jackson, and other pop and rock acts, developed Cardio Barre as a group exercise class that combines ballet barre exercises, light free weights and resistance training for a workout designed to burn fat and build lean muscle.
The use of a ballet barre in group exercise routines has since gained popularity, and companies such as Birmingham, Mich.-based Pure Barre and San Francisco-based Bar Method have opened several locations in and around Los Angeles in the past few years.
Startup costs for franchisees are $150,000 to $250,000, including permits, rent and equipment, plus a one-time franchising fee of $30,000.
Denise Cohen, who started taking Cardio Barre classes three years ago, owns the Hollywood location. She opted to become a franchisee after seeing the growing popularity of the classes.
“Cardio Barre has this following of celebs, moms, 20-year-olds and 50-year-olds,” Cohen said. “It has people all across the board and that’s the good thing about buying into this franchise. People already know about it.”
Giorla said he’s made some mistakes. Looking back, he probably wouldn’t have opened studios in Simi Valley and Santa Clarita because they are smaller towns with fewer fitness-oriented residents.
“There was a learning curve,” he said.