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3 Approaches to Cultivate a Dedicated Customer Base

For more than a decade, Shred415 co-founders Tracy Roemer and Bonnie Micheli have been on a mission to change lives through an inclusive, community-focused fitness experience. Since opening their first studio in Chicago in 2011, Shred415 has expanded to more than 20 locations across 14 states.  

While the powerhouse duo behind the company’s success may prefer to stay out of the spotlight and let their incredible instructors shine, we were thrilled to welcome them for a conversation with Mindbody chief people officer Meisha Sherman. As part of Mindbody’s Momentum Series, our team listened as Roemer and Micheli shared Shred415’s story, including challenges they’ve overcome and their multi-pronged approach to growing and cultivating a dedicated community of Shredders. Keep reading for a peek into three of the strategies Shred415 uses to reach and convert new members in all its locations, from its Chi-Town home base to its franchises across the country.

1. Get noticed through grassroots outreach

From the beginning, Roemer and Micheli knew one audience that Shred415 was meant for: families. As mothers themselves, it was important to create a space that gave parents an opportunity to prioritize fitness without having to worry about childcare. To promote offerings like their kid’s lounge and ShredKids classes, the two reached out to schools, teachers, local mom’s groups, and more to get in front of their target clientele.  

Today, Shred415 studios continue to attract new members through grassroots efforts. The co-founders encourage their studio managers and franchisees to get out and make connections with local businesses. By partnering with nearby fitness studios and offering cross-training experiences and events, Shred415 expands its reach and becomes more ingrained in its surrounding fitness communities. 

2. Weave community into every experience

From check-in to in-class, Roemer and Micheli stressed the emphasis they’ve placed on making sure everyone who comes into their studios feels welcome, seen, and part of something bigger than themselves. Since the days when the two of them traded off working the front desk, they’ve pushed themselves and their staff to learn members’ names, get to know their goals, and stay involved in their journeys.  

The co-founders have worked to create a fitness environment that isn’t competitive but celebrates all achievements and encourages visitors to work hard together, not against each other. While Shredders may be split between the treadmill and floor, the high-effort pushes are synced so everyone can feel the burn together. “People really feel like Shred415 is a form of therapy,” Micheli said. “So, when you’re getting your therapy in a room full of people, you start connecting with them, the instructor, the studio manager—this is how our community was built.”

3. Don’t shy away from ClassPass 

At Shred415, a full class is the best type of class—and packing the room with Shredders has been a long-standing priority for Roemer and Micheli. Shred415 has found ClassPass allows them to bring new visitors through the door and expand their reach through word-of-mouth as ClassPass users share their experience with friends. The co-founders have seen their studios achieve greater utilization, filling treadmills and floor spaces that might otherwise be empty.

“We recognize the importance of filling those spaces,” Roemer said, “It’s about making those classes more exciting for instructors to teach and more exciting for our members to be a part of. We’ve realized—and told our franchisees—what ClassPass does from a marketing standpoint, we’d never be able to do.”  

Today, with the support of Mindbody and ClassPass, Shred415 continues to innovate and grow, while keeping their community-focused mindset at the forefront. Not only has this approach allowed them to expand their business (with dozens of current and previous members itching to open their own franchise), but it’s been the driver of each studio’s individual success.

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About the author:

Maria Prokopowicz mindbody headshot

Maria Prokopowicz

Marketing Content Specialist


Maria Prokopowicz is a North Carolina native, UNC Chapel Hill graduate, and current Chicago resident. A wordsmith at heart, she is an experienced content writer and SEO specialist with a passion for telling brands’ stories by capturing their unique voices. When she’s not at work, you can find Maria running along Chicago’s lakefront trail, trying out new fitness studios, or searching for the best nachos Chi Town has to offer.

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