Sweat and Tonic, a luxury fitness and wellness brand, has recently opened its new location at The Well in Toronto. The facility transcends the traditional concept of a gym offering wide ranges of classes, wellness therapies, and social spaces. David Ingram, the founder of Sweat and Tonic, discusses the new location, guests’ experiences, and what is coming next.
The Well location has been open for a few weeks and is its second location in Toronto with the first one located on Yonge Street, and will be offering the same services while continuing to innovate. Currently, the new location is fully open, but is running at around 75 percent of the usual schedule and will be at 100 percent in the first few months of 2024.
“In January we will be running just under 200 classes a week and then we will go over 200 when we hit around March. The Tonic House, which is our shared workspace with the patio area and the bar where most people will congregate and socialise is fully open; and the smoothie, coffee, and food bar is also open. The vendors remaining are expected to open around February is the whole spa and wellness section, which is just finishing construction now,” says David Ingram.
Ingram says the capacity for classes is around 216 a week at The Well and will be building up to the amount. The gym offers classes for everyone such as yoga, pilates, hiit, ride, and personal training options and has around 50 instructors.
The decision to locate to The Well was influenced by the area’s development, the appealing mix of retail and residential spaces, and its prime position in the city – making it an ideal setting for a modern, holistic fitness and wellness centre. The space will also include space for social events for members which will occur monthly. The gatherings will provide an opportunity for members to celebrate achievements, participate in activities, and contribute to social causes.
New Location, New Innovations
The Well location will offer the use of lighting and video screens for guests using its ride and yoga studios.
“We have been building and creating our own digital content for video, so when you go into the right gear for example, you will see an electronic EDM style format which will give you the sense of being in a nightclub with the same type of music so that people can have a class that will give them all the natural highs that come from getting up the heartbeat and excitement of being in that kind of music – but obviously, in a more natural setting versus what will be in a club. So that is new and unique for us in the ride studio and yoga studio.”
Guests will experience an immersive yoga session as the lighting has unique themes such as going through water, moonscapes, ocean images, and more. A yoga class meant for relaxation will have a warm glow and will be different from a pilates class.
“We have very different formats in some ways because of what we can do with lighting and video content than what we did at the first studio, it is really just a development of trying to take the studios to the next stage.”
New Spa and Wellness
Ingram says the spa and wellness section, new to Sweat and Tonic, will hopefully go live on February 20th.
When it opens, those who have the pool membership will have access to use the 50 foot lap pool, the sauna, hot tub, and the cold chilled shower so they can do the hot and cold rotation with the sauna.
There will also be six touch therapy rooms for physical therapy including services such as massages, facials, lymphatic drainage, and more. The section will also have six rooms dedicated to technology applications such as cryotherapy and red light therapy.
“We are also looking at using intravenous drips, naturopaths, and DEXA scanning machines. So, there will be six rooms with that technology and six rooms dedicated to the touch therapy all built in within the spa space.
Enhanced Approaches: Lessons from Yonge Street
Looking at the first location, Ingram says by looking at the core demographic of young, professional women provided the team with key insights leading to a diverse range of fitness and wellness options. The new understanding shaped the options available to have more holistic features balancing fitness with wellness practices and socialization.
The biggest learning curve was the demand for pilates which exceeded expectations and revealed a strong interest among members. Because of this, The Well location has an increased emphasis on pilates and yoga spaces, ensuring these popular classes are a prominent feature of the wellness experience.The new spa and wellness section was created also because of a high interest as guests don’t just want to focus on exercise, but also overall health.
“What we didn’t expect was just how popular the pilates and yoga spaces would become. We expected ride and hiit to have an audience that was looking for real active physical fitness routines – we under-appreciated the demand for all of the different types of classes and products that guests would be looking for. Guests are really looking to take care of both their health and fitness.”
Guests also have access to its retail section where it has expanded offerings to include a variety of products from local and national suppliers, including lululemon. The expansion reflects the move to cater to the growing trend of fitness fashion, providing members with high-quality clothing and fitness accessories. Sweat and Tonic also offers its own branded products.
“Retail is a growing category for us. We have been a partner with lululemon from the very beginning, but we have also tried to pick local retail merchants and products. We are trying to keep local suppliers as well as national suppliers to provide more options for shoppers.”
Currently, Sweat and Tonic offers clothing options and although unsure what will come next, Ingram says they are looking to see what other categories they can expand into such as the possibility of candles and tote bags.
“We are trying to think about the next location, and what else do people really want that we don’t provide yet and we think there are still a few more things we can add. There is nothing big that we are looking to change for the next one, but there is a list of small things that we will continue to upgrade as we go through each facility, one at a time.”