During this era of COVID-19, the franchise industry will truly be tested, but it also provides a unique opportunity for prospective business owners that have been waiting for the opportune moment. While some franchise systems may not be able to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, others are setting themselves up for long-term success. With the proper due diligence, you can make the best of these troubling times by choosing to invest in your future. 

An Innovative Concept

CITYROW is one of the fitness brands that have continued to engage their following with free online workouts and a free month of their CITYROW GO program. 

Thanks to the accessible and user-friendly technology we already had in place, CITYROW programming was able to adjust to the unique challenges that came along with the COVID-19 crisis. Some studios have even rolled out a rental program for their rowing machines while the studios remain closed. 

CITYROW studio members are just as engaged as ever and are excited to be back in the studio once we can re-open our doors. That’s the great thing about boutique fitness; our members love the sense of community they get from coming to class, and those relationships have endured even though we can no longer gather in the studio together. 

“This market shift indicates that the customer base for the fitness industry is highly loyal. This elevated devotion to health may play a strong role in the recovery of gyms upon reopening their doors.”


Our social media pages are also alive and well, keeping people motivated to stay healthy, active, and connected during this time of social distancing. 

The online workouts aren’t just available to members. In spite of these troubling times, CITYROW is establishing itself as a driving force in the fitness industry by providing an online platform for anyone to work out for free. There is no doubt that we will bounce back from this setback and continue to see the success that our brand has experienced since day one.

“Remember, people will be hungry for their boutique fitness workout. When this is all over they will be craving exercise, community, and wellbeing.” 

Patrick Armitage, zingfit.com


CITYROW has even gone a step further in support of our franchisees! In addition to free online workouts for the general public, we have created CITYROW Live—a way for our members to keep on receiving live, personalized, and exclusive class content from the trainers they know and love. Classes are delivered via live stream from each studio and allow for interaction between instructors and members, just as in a real CITYROW class!

The best part of this program is that it allows our franchisees to continue to generate revenue and keep business operating normally (or as normal as possible, all things considered). The members love being able to attend their regular class time with classmates they have gotten to know. Offering this sense of normalcy goes a long way when many other aspects of life feel so uncertain.

Financial Incentives 

According to a buyer sentiment survey conducted between March 17-19, 2020, 55% of aspiring franchise owners agreed that now is a good time to start a franchise business. 

Prospective franchisees who have done their due diligence and decided to move forward with their investment can benefit from several financial incentives of franchising in this unusual period of time. 

  • Lower interest rates
  • Higher loan approval rates
  • Lower cash on hand needed for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans

Proposed legislation, the Immediate Measures to Protect Against COVID-19 Threats for Small Businesses Act, or IMPACT for Small Businesses Act, would also increase 7(a) lending, waive upfront guaranty fees, increase loan guarantee to 90% for certain loan types, increase the maximum loan amount, and allow for more flexibility with Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs).

401K/IRA business funding also allows you to fund your business with no upfront taxes or early withdrawal penalties.


To succeed as a business owner, you need a system in place to tackle anything that comes your way. With CITYROW behind you, you can rest assured that our number one priority is to support our franchisees during the good times and the bad.

Some of the support you can expect to receive as a CITYROW franchisee include:

  • A clear roadmap and support system
  • Brand awareness
  • A shorter path to profitability
  • Easier access to funding compared to independent start-ups
  • Business training
  • A supportive community of franchisees
  • Territory protection
  • Marketing assistance
  • Potential for multi-unit ownership

We will not let this setback stop us from continuing to bring better health and fitness to everyone! 

Get started on your franchise journey today so that you are ready to welcome in all of the stir-crazy fitness fanatics once social distancing guidelines are lifted!


  1. 10 Ways Investing in a Fitness Franchise Strengthens Entrepreneurs’ Chances of Success
  2. Coronavirus Relief Bills: Requirements and Opportunities for Franchise Businesses
  3. Benetrends Financial: Startup & Small Business Loans | 401(k)/IRA Business Funding
  4. Franchising Moves Forward Despite Challenge of COVID-19 Pandemic
  5. Buyer Sentiment Survey: Franchise Inquirers Looking Past Pandemic Effects – UPDATED 3/26/20