Source: Philly Voice Brandon Baker
John Foley loves Flywheel, SoulCycle and most other popular boutique cyclist classes. But with a chaotic career and a kid, Foley, a New Yorker with a background as an e-commerce executive, is also a busy guy.
Enter, his big idea for Peloton.
Peloton, founded by Foley in November 2013, is an at-home subscription service for cyclists. The company operates a production studio out of Manhattan that has 12 instructors live-host workouts that are then streamed to Peloton-designed bikes, all of which are equipped with a 22-inch tablet screen and WiFi. Approximately 275,000 bike owners from around the world simultaneously stream the workouts as they happen, to simulate the experience of a workout class without, you know, actually having to go.
By the second week of May, Peloton will open its first Philadelphia fitness boutique, where it will sell the bikes, offer a trial class and sell a combination of apparel (men’s and women’s) and standard merchandise like water bottles. The boutique, taking up residence in the 1,200-square-foot space that was previously Anne Fontaine in the King of Prussia Mall, is the 12th store to open in the U.S.
“The real strategy behind retail is to set up locations where people can come engage with one of our sales folks, get on the bike, put the headphones on, experience how smooth, silent and sturdy the bike is, but also get into a class and understand the power of what that delivers,” Tim Shannehan, Peloton’s chief revenue officer and head of the brand’s retail strategy, told PhillyVoice. “Having that first-hand engagement is critical.”
The store, which will employ about seven people, was planted in King of Prussia to cater to affluent suburbanites, a growing Philadelphia user base and a “cold weather market.” It will mirror a showroom in aesthetic and functionality.
Though Shannehan predictably touted the bike — built with magnetic resistance and a belt drive — as the best on the market, the selling line for the program is likely what he calls a “massively passionate” community of riders. Riders not only connect with one another through internet forums “Rider Invasions,” but tend to be competitive in class, thanks to access to other riders’ workout data, which is compiled into leaderboards.
“You hop on and ride in the morning, and you might be sluggish but see someone 10 points ahead, and you want to catch them,” he said. “You can tap on their profile and see where their settings are going, so you go maybe two notches ahead them. You keep doing that and find 45 minutes later you just got a killer workout. You feel terrific, you hop in the shower and go to work.”
To boot, a camera on the tablet lets users virtually complete in classes with friends and family who also have a bike — if you don’t mind them seeing you sweat.
A grand opening event for the boutique is in the works, though a date has yet to be announced. A sale on all apparel will accompany the store’s first few days of opening.