Stretch-Focused Fitness Concept ’StretchLab’ Opens 1st Canadian Location with Expansion Plans 


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Fitness concept StretchLab has launched an aggressive plan to roll out the business in Canada.

The first Canadian location opened in March in Toronto.

“We just grand opened our very first Canada location and tremendous success,” said Verdine Baker, Brand President.

“Going into different countries, not that we were nervous, but we were intrigued as to how we would perform. And looking at how Toronto performed in their build, ramping up their member base ahead of opening and the just the resounding yes of that Toronto community in yes we want this and need this has been pretty amazing to see.”

Image: StretchLab
Verdine Baker

The corporate office is in Irvine, California, just south of Los Angeles. The concept started in 2015 in Venice Beach, California. A second location followed about a year later in Santa Monica and then one opened on Beverly Boulevard in the heart of Los Angeles in Beverly Hills.

“The two founders were a couple of gentlemen – a personal trainer and his client who is a lawyer,” said Baker. “This started out as the trainer training the client and the trainer would typically reserve the last five to 10 minutes of the session for some kind of manual stretch as a way to aid recovery and cool down from the workout.

“And increasingly over time, the lawyer kept on maybe using his lawyer negotiation skills to ask for more time on the stretch as opposed to the workout and they turned that into an actual stretch session and I would presume that’s when they had their aha moment to start the concept.

“Obviously, stretching has been around forever but at that time in 2015 there weren’t a whole lot of brick and mortar spaces that offered stretching specifically as a one on one service.”

Image: StretchLab

In about 2017, the CEO of Xponential Fitness, which has about 10 fitness brands, took over the brand from the two original founders and the right to franchise it.

“And we’ve been off to the races ever since,” said Baker.

Today, there are just over 300 locations. 

Baker said the brand has licenses sold in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto. The goal is to build the brand presence north of the border. There is no target right now for how many locations will open in Canada eventually.

Baker said the same approach is being implemented as in the US where the brand is taken to communities that understand health and wellness and is something of importance to them. Expansion is the goal.

“Fast expansion is what we do and I’m looking forward to doing that in Canada,” he said.

A typical location is about 1,500 square feet.

Don Gregor and Jennifer Bowyer of brokerage Aurora Realty Consultants are helping the brand with its expansion plans in Canada. Jeron Dillon of Avison Young is assisting with the Vancouver expansion.

Image: StretchLab Toronto

“No two bodies are the same and no two stretches at StretchLab are the same. One-on-one stretching is about identifying tightness and imbalances in your body and customizing a stretch routine that is just for you. Our clients may come in with pain, tightness or specific focus areas, but they keep coming back and commit to their flexibility journey once they experience the freedom that comes with having a wider range of motion and flexibility,” says the company on its website.

The company says its proprietary Flexologist Training Program is an intensive and thorough program that each of its Flexologists must complete prior to joining StretchLab. This is the first Nationally Accredited program from ICE – the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. During their required 60-70+ hours of theory and hands-on training, the Flexologists learn the muscular system, a variety of assisted stretches and how to work with a variety of clients of all ages and body types.

“Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (whew!) is the method we use in our one-on-one stretches and certain stretches in our group sessions. Basically, your flexologist will put you in position and ask you to contract certain muscles and hold the contraction for a few moments. This advanced form of stretching is very beneficial in increasing range of motion and getting maximum benefits,” it says.

“Static stretching is holding a stretch for a set amount of time. Dynamic stretching includes some sort of movement associated with the stretch. We use a combination of these methods during every group and one-on-one stretch.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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