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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
The results from the first Moving Communities Customer Experience survey present a positive picture of overall satisfaction with local authority facilities, explains Mike Hill
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Premier Global NASM is setting personal trainers up for sustainable success with the launch of its online training bundle and app
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With local authority facility management companies and councils under financial pressure due to the pandemic and issues emerging around health inequalities, will we see a trend towards councils insourcing the management of facilities? Kath Hudson rounds up views
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Research
30 minutes of exercise represents just two per cent of your entire day. Is it possible that our activity habits for just two per cent of the day are all that matter when it comes to health?
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Sponsored
With gyms reopening as the fitness industry recovers from the impact of lockdowns, members are seeking social interaction and engaging training experiences in a small group setting
HCM Magazine
Product innovation
“A great atmosphere is just as important to the fitness journey as the right workout routine, says LEDSnaps’ CEO, Ian Kirby
HCM Magazine
Sponsored
Every gym design project should be designed from the floor up, says Physical Company’s James Anderson. He tells HCM why
HCM Magazine
Editor's letter
The pandemic has disrupted everything and as businesses across the leisure industry reshape themselves to survive and thrive, new competition is emerging that will change the sector
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Sponsored
Empowered Brands has strengthened its leadership team with the appointment of a new chair and CEO following the untimely death of founder, Jan Spaticchia
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Interview
‘After the rain comes the sunshine,’ says the founder and CEO of the RSG Group. He talks to Kate Cracknell about acquiring Gold’s Gym, continuing the global expansion of John Reed, and learning to live with COVID-19
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Latest News
The US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020, due ...
Latest News
Speaking exclusive to HCM, Ralph Scholz and Nathalie Smeeman have confirmed that B2B trade show ...
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: miha bodytec EMS-PT: an irresistible way to boost your in-club offer
Post pandemic, technology continues to shape the way consumers access fitness. Apps and wearables are helping people reach their goals while digital offerings – which grew exponentially during lockdowns – continue to thrive.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: Freemotion Fitness
With science and innovation at its core, Freemotion questions how we work out and then ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Xn Leisure Systems Ltd
Xn Leisure is a provider of cutting-edge health and fitness software, offering an exceptional service ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Precor: The power of networking
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
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 US fitness industry lost around 58 per cent of its revenues during 2020, due ...
Latest News
Speaking exclusive to HCM, Ralph Scholz and Nathalie Smeeman have confirmed that B2B trade show ...
Latest News
The Pingdemic of people receiving notifications on their phones, telling them to self-isolate because of ...
Latest News
The Gym Group has extended its partnership with digital fitness platform Fiit, becoming the first ...
Latest News
The world's largest fitness trade fair, FIBO, has been rescheduled again and will now take ...
Latest News
Rainer Schaller, founder of budget gym megabrand McFIT, says that the global fitness industry will ...
Latest News
The most high-risk and controversial Olympics of modern times begin today (23 July) in Tokyo, ...
Latest News
Further research into the levels of positive COVID-19 cases among those to have visited fitness ...
Latest News
Planning approval has been granted to what is set to become one of the first ...
Latest News
Digital fitness content provider, Wexer, is launching a new wellness resource on its connected Web ...
Latest News
Leisure-net has revealed plans to transform its active-net business event from an annual face-to-face gathering ...
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Cryotherapy specialists, L&R Kältetechnik, launch new artofcryo.com division
L&R Kältetechnik has launched a new division, named artofcryo.com, after 30 years’ experience with -110 °C electrical solutions.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: miha bodytec EMS-PT: an irresistible way to boost your in-club offer
Post pandemic, technology continues to shape the way consumers access fitness. Apps and wearables are helping people reach their goals while digital offerings – which grew exponentially during lockdowns – continue to thrive.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Everyone Active generates £342m in social value
Award-winning leisure operator Everyone Active generated £342million in social value at its sites across the country in 2019/20.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Being active helps Parkwood Leisure customers save the NHS £16m
Parkwood Leisure, one of the UK’s leading public leisure facilities operators, helped prevent more than 7,000 cases of stroke, dementia, depression and type 2 diabetes in 2019, saving the NHS £16 million, a new social value report has shown.
Company profiles
Company profile: Freemotion Fitness
With science and innovation at its core, Freemotion questions how we work out and then ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Xn Leisure Systems Ltd
Xn Leisure is a provider of cutting-edge health and fitness software, offering an exceptional service ...
Supplier Showcases
Supplier showcase - Precor: The power of networking
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Wearable technology solutions
MyZone: Wearable technology solutions
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Lockers/interior design
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers/interior design
Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Kemitron GmbH: Hydrotherapy / spa fragrances
Independent service & maintenance
Servicesport UK Limited: Independent service & maintenance
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Property & Tenders
Newport, Shropshire
Lilleshall Sports Academy
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
18-19 Sep 2021
Locations worldwide,
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2021
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
13-14 Oct 2021
Online,
Diary dates
01-03 Feb 2022
Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
Diary dates
07-10 Apr 2022
Exhibition Centre , Cologne, Germany
Diary dates
15-16 Jun 2022
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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