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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

HCM People: Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan MoosaOwners, Retrofit

We decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of gyms we’ve loved

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 6
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
In today’s world, physical health and mental health have never been more important and fitness is pivotal to both of these

Tell us about Retrofit
It’s a new boutique club in South Kensington, London, with a gym and ‘Retrocafe’ at street level and boxing, cycling and yoga studios below ground.

My husband Shahnaan Moosa and I raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development. The club is around 9,000 sq ft and has a membership capacity of between 800 and 1,000.

What’s the dream?
We’ve always shared a passion for fitness, but trained in completely different ways at different gyms across the UK and in different parts of the world.

At the beginning of 2020, we decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of the gyms that we’ve loved. With this in mind, Retrofit London was born as a boutique-style fitness club where casual gym goers and hardcore athletes can train under the same roof with the best equipment.

What makes you different and special?
An affordable premium service. There’s a plethora of low budget operators in the area, and on the other end, very highly priced operators, so our goal is to bridge the gap between the two and provide a luxury facility at an affordable price.

Our member journey and community feel sets us apart from similar providers. We’re also proud to have one of the first Technogym Skillbike Studios in London and one of the first Technogym Biocircuits in England.

What are the membership rates?
We create bespoke personalised packages for our members. We have a flexible monthly contract, which gives members full access to the gym, as well as group exercise classes. We also offer a PT membership, priced depending on each individual’s needs and goals. In short, there’s an option for everyone!

What were your priorities when deciding on gym layout?
The project actually began pre-COVID and our initial priorities were working with our contractor, Fit Out Management, to maximise functional space, while maintaining a natural flow-through.

COVID-19 restrictions meant adjustments had to be made, such as prioritising a one-way system. This resulted in changes to the equipment layout and the removal of some pieces to allow a safe distance to be kept when training.

It was also important to us that members had an area where they could relax and socialise, so we added our Retrocafe, where members can grab a smoothie or healthy snack.

How will you evolve the offering?
We aim to replace our equipment every five years to make sure we have the latest and best technology on the market. As a club, we’ll be doing monthly challenges, for our staff and members, to develop member relationships and motivate.

We’re always on the lookout for pieces of kit we can add to improve our member journey.

Feedback is something we take very seriously and when our members request something, we listen.

Tell us about the secondary spend
It represents about 10 per cent of our turnover – this includes our café and two treatment rooms, one of which we’re renting out to The French Touch Physio and members get a £10 discount per session. The other will soon be rented to a sports massage therapist.

Who’s your typical customer?
We don’t have a typical customer per se. Our members range from 20 – 70-years-of-age, with the majority being in between 30 and 40 and are working professionals who either live or work in the South Kensington area in London.

What are your business goals?
To provide a safe, inclusive environment for members, where we can break the boundaries of indoor training, together as a community. We aim to create a bespoke personalised service, so each and everyone’s fitness goals are achieved.

Do you plan to expand?
Yes. This is just the beginning. We aim to expand our business, first around London, and then around the rest of the UK.

How and why did you get into the industry?
In today’s world, physical health, as well as mental health, has never been so important. Fitness is pivotal to both of these. It’s not just about going to the gym to do a workout anymore, it’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and getting members feeling confident and happy in their own skin.

What’s the secret to you working together as a couple?
Quite simply, it’s a shared passion. We have separate workloads and each have our own roles within the company – most of the time it’s as though we’ve had separate working days which we can discuss at the end of it.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to open their own health club?
Patience is a virtue! Be prepared to change and adapt the way you approach the business, as the fitness industry is always growing and changing. It’s important to stay ahead of the game and think of fresh ideas to separate yourself from competitors.

The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/840686_935161.jpg
The owners of Retrofit, Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan Moosa, raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development of their club
HCM magazine
Bryce Hastings, head of research at Les Mills, explains the latest research into exercise motivation, giving tips on how to engage hard-to-reach members
HCM magazine
Social media influencers cause harm by raising unrealistic expectations of physical perfection, as Andrea Dearden explains
HCM magazine
Having a portfolio of more than 1,000 health club locations is the aim of ambitious operators, with this elite category growing fast, creating new dynamics in the market
HCM Magazine
Tech
Each health club has its own unique challenges, but the right tech solution can make all the difference. In the first of a two-part series, specialists share how they’ve solved specific issues
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Yate Leisure is one of the largest sites in Circadian Trust’s portfolio, with around 4,000 members. Ben Beasley, director of commercial development, explains why they were an early adopter of Technogym Biocircuit, and how the offer has evolved
HCM Magazine
HCM People
Choose consistent over perfect. That’s the long game. It’s never too late to pivot to that mindset
HCM Magazine
Insight
The pandemic brought about our sector’s biggest ever collaboration on COVID safety data. Lizzie Broughton tells the story
HCM Magazine
Everyone's talking about
In the wake of the pandemic, is the time ripe to change the language around the role of exercise professionals, and gain greater trust from the healthcare sector?
HCM Magazine
Insight
The Global Wellness Summit brought together public health and wellness experts in Boston recently. Jane Kitchen was there for HCM to see first-hand what this ‘New new era in health and wellness’ will look like for the sector
HCM Magazine
Research
Being physically active can heal damage caused by diabetes, enabling the activation of a natural system that grows new blood vessels, according to research in the US
HCM Magazine
Latest News
The Gym Group’s (TGG) plans and profit forecasts were presented to analysts and investors during ...
Latest News
A new physical activity programme called Big Sister has been launched in the UK to ...
Latest News
Go Fit has been selected by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as ...
Latest News
Ness, a US startup that is developing a range of wellness-driven credit cards, has launched ...
Latest News
Following a history of supporting US military and service members, F45 has announced a new ...
Latest News
Hyatt is piloting private gyms in five of its US hotels as part of its ...
Latest News
A young girl has died following an incident at the David Lloyd gym at Capability ...
Latest News
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: UK health clubs hit by rising cost of energy
Health clubs across the UK are facing huge rises in business energy bills which are forcing difficult decisions.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: What’s the first thing you think about when selling gym equipment?
According to our poll the first thing 80 per cent of operators and gym owners think about when it’s time to sell gym equipment is how much your equipment is worth.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active to launch new exercise classes to reduce gender gap
As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Sport Alliance GmbH
Company profiles
Company profile: InBody UK
InBody provides products that are accurate, medically rated holding a CE mark and certified to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Mindbody
Mindbody is the leading technology platform for the wellness industry, featuring an app that allows ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , United Kingdom
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates

features

HCM People: Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan MoosaOwners, Retrofit

We decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of gyms we’ve loved

Published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 6
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
Mahrya Abdulla and Shahnaan Moosa are entrepreneurs building their Retrofit brand / photo: Retrofit
In today’s world, physical health and mental health have never been more important and fitness is pivotal to both of these

Tell us about Retrofit
It’s a new boutique club in South Kensington, London, with a gym and ‘Retrocafe’ at street level and boxing, cycling and yoga studios below ground.

My husband Shahnaan Moosa and I raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development. The club is around 9,000 sq ft and has a membership capacity of between 800 and 1,000.

What’s the dream?
We’ve always shared a passion for fitness, but trained in completely different ways at different gyms across the UK and in different parts of the world.

At the beginning of 2020, we decided to build a facility that encompasses all the parts of the gyms that we’ve loved. With this in mind, Retrofit London was born as a boutique-style fitness club where casual gym goers and hardcore athletes can train under the same roof with the best equipment.

What makes you different and special?
An affordable premium service. There’s a plethora of low budget operators in the area, and on the other end, very highly priced operators, so our goal is to bridge the gap between the two and provide a luxury facility at an affordable price.

Our member journey and community feel sets us apart from similar providers. We’re also proud to have one of the first Technogym Skillbike Studios in London and one of the first Technogym Biocircuits in England.

What are the membership rates?
We create bespoke personalised packages for our members. We have a flexible monthly contract, which gives members full access to the gym, as well as group exercise classes. We also offer a PT membership, priced depending on each individual’s needs and goals. In short, there’s an option for everyone!

What were your priorities when deciding on gym layout?
The project actually began pre-COVID and our initial priorities were working with our contractor, Fit Out Management, to maximise functional space, while maintaining a natural flow-through.

COVID-19 restrictions meant adjustments had to be made, such as prioritising a one-way system. This resulted in changes to the equipment layout and the removal of some pieces to allow a safe distance to be kept when training.

It was also important to us that members had an area where they could relax and socialise, so we added our Retrocafe, where members can grab a smoothie or healthy snack.

How will you evolve the offering?
We aim to replace our equipment every five years to make sure we have the latest and best technology on the market. As a club, we’ll be doing monthly challenges, for our staff and members, to develop member relationships and motivate.

We’re always on the lookout for pieces of kit we can add to improve our member journey.

Feedback is something we take very seriously and when our members request something, we listen.

Tell us about the secondary spend
It represents about 10 per cent of our turnover – this includes our café and two treatment rooms, one of which we’re renting out to The French Touch Physio and members get a £10 discount per session. The other will soon be rented to a sports massage therapist.

Who’s your typical customer?
We don’t have a typical customer per se. Our members range from 20 – 70-years-of-age, with the majority being in between 30 and 40 and are working professionals who either live or work in the South Kensington area in London.

What are your business goals?
To provide a safe, inclusive environment for members, where we can break the boundaries of indoor training, together as a community. We aim to create a bespoke personalised service, so each and everyone’s fitness goals are achieved.

Do you plan to expand?
Yes. This is just the beginning. We aim to expand our business, first around London, and then around the rest of the UK.

How and why did you get into the industry?
In today’s world, physical health, as well as mental health, has never been so important. Fitness is pivotal to both of these. It’s not just about going to the gym to do a workout anymore, it’s about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and getting members feeling confident and happy in their own skin.

What’s the secret to you working together as a couple?
Quite simply, it’s a shared passion. We have separate workloads and each have our own roles within the company – most of the time it’s as though we’ve had separate working days which we can discuss at the end of it.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who want to open their own health club?
Patience is a virtue! Be prepared to change and adapt the way you approach the business, as the fitness industry is always growing and changing. It’s important to stay ahead of the game and think of fresh ideas to separate yourself from competitors.

The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The Retrofit model is to create an ‘affordable premium’ service / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The location in London’s South Kensington is planned as the first of many / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
The aim is to offer a safe and inclusive environment and create a personalised service / photo: Retrofit
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2021/840686_935161.jpg
The owners of Retrofit, Mahrya Abdulla & Shahnaan Moosa, raised a £400,000 loan to fund the development of their club
Latest News
The Gym Group’s (TGG) plans and profit forecasts were presented to analysts and investors during ...
Latest News
A new physical activity programme called Big Sister has been launched in the UK to ...
Latest News
Go Fit has been selected by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as ...
Latest News
Ness, a US startup that is developing a range of wellness-driven credit cards, has launched ...
Latest News
Following a history of supporting US military and service members, F45 has announced a new ...
Latest News
Hyatt is piloting private gyms in five of its US hotels as part of its ...
Latest News
A young girl has died following an incident at the David Lloyd gym at Capability ...
Latest News
New fitness franchise, Circuit Society, has signed its first London location in Bayswater. The 3,000sq ...
Latest News
Active Nottingham, part of Nottingham City Council, has released a children’s book called Can We ...
Latest News
The new £42m Moorways Sports Village will open its doors to the public on Saturday ...
Latest News
Fitness industry veteran Harm Tegelaars has returned to the fitness industry by joining the board ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: UK health clubs hit by rising cost of energy
Health clubs across the UK are facing huge rises in business energy bills which are forcing difficult decisions.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: What’s the first thing you think about when selling gym equipment?
According to our poll the first thing 80 per cent of operators and gym owners think about when it’s time to sell gym equipment is how much your equipment is worth.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Serco Leisure wins 10-year Mansfield contract
Following a competitive tendering process, Serco Leisure and its partner More Leisure Community Trust Limited (MLCT) have been awarded a 10-year contract by Mansfield District Council to operate three centres in the town, starting 1 May 2022.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active to launch new exercise classes to reduce gender gap
As part of their work to break down the barriers that deter women and girls from participating in sport and physical activity, Everyone Active has teamed up with EMD UK to launch new exercise classes linked to the This Girl Can campaign.
Video Gallery
Mindbody, Inc
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Sport Alliance GmbH
Company profiles
Company profile: InBody UK
InBody provides products that are accurate, medically rated holding a CE mark and certified to ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Mindbody
Mindbody is the leading technology platform for the wellness industry, featuring an app that allows ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: trade associations
Skincare
Comfort Zone - Davines S.p.A: Skincare
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
30-30 Jun 2022
The ICC, Birmingham, Birmingham , United Kingdom
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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