Richard Feinberg’s place in the real estate world is one that could be called niche. With 16 years’ experience in small-box retail franchises, and specializing in fitness businesses, he serves as the vice president of real Estate for Club Pilates and the regional director of real estate—Northeast and Canada for Xponential Fitness and its brands. This includes working with local brokers, franchisees, and landlords during site search, LOI, and lease phases. Once a franchisee settles on a brand, Richard works to match them with their local Xponential broker in their location, manage the process of vetting and approving sites, as well as lease negotiations.
Richard started in the fitness real estate business in 2005 with LA Boxing, transitioning to the UFC Gym franchise and, in 2015, Club Pilates. Today, Club Pilates and seven other brands operate under Xponential Fitness, the largest operator of boutique fitness brands in the world. To date, Richard has matched over 500 franchisees with boutique fitness brands and leased over 1.5 million square feet. In addition, he conducts mentoring for his team as well as for new franchisees to ensure the success of all.
Richard’s model was unique. “I created this model in 2005. This was not the normal way of doing it. Normally, someone like me would retain an outside third-party broker or agent to manage this externally and report back to me. I created an independent network of brokers across the country and Canada, and they work with me directly, so there is no middleman for the franchisee.”
“This model benefits my franchisees because they’re dealing directly with a responsible person at the company—me—so I’m going to do their onboarding, training, I’m talking to their broker every week, I’m looking at all the important touchpoints,” he explains. “I am intimately aware of what is going on with every deal, as opposed to it being filtered through someone else, so there is always a person at the company that they can work directly whose hands are on their deal. This makes the process easier and seamless. I’m going to answer questions about a brand, help train them, work with the broker to make sure the development team always has a single point of live contact for them—me. Franchisees don’t have to manage all the moving parts.”
In addition to handling all those moving parts, Richard also spends time training new franchisees to make the process all the smoother. He spends at least two hours with each of them, walking them through the real estate process to show them what to expect. “The franchisees are buying a system, so they have to understand the system,” Richard says. “We have a proven model. Franchisees simply follow that process, and there are Xponential Fitness people to assist them all along that process and with running their franchise. We give them everything they need to run a successful business.”
Richard’s system has paved the way to success for his growing number of franchisees. “Some of our Club Pilates franchisees have been with us since 2015,” he says. “Some have opened other Xponential Fitness brands as a result of the success with their first one, and now own multiple brands.” Richard credits his success, and that of his franchisees, to his dedication to franchisee education and his real desire for his franchisees to succeed; after all, Richard spends so much time with them, that he feels personally invested in their success.
“I think the reason this works for me is that at heart, I’m a teacher,” he says. “So the way that this model allows me to work is that I get to mentor and teach the team. I get to teach the franchisees. I really think that an empathetic approach is what makes this model work.”
VP Real Estate Northeast and Canada -- Xponential Fitness LLC