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Barry’s considers next investor move, as North Castle Partners looks to exit

Barry’s is looking at its strategic options
The boutique operator is ready to resume plans stalled by the pandemic
CEO, Joey Gonzalez, told HCM last year that 2024 will look like 2019
Gonzalez has ambitions for 200 studios by 2030
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Barry’s – known for its HIIT workouts combining treadmills and weights – is thought to be looking at strategic options, including taking on a new backer.

Talking exclusively to HCM global CEO, Joey Gonzalez said the company is ready to resume its plans to hit the market, after its plans were stalled by COVID.

North Castle Partners had intended to invest for around five years and exit in 2020, so it’s likely its stake will change hands now the investor has had its money in the business for nine years. “We’ve spent the last three years getting the company back on track and expect 2024 to look a lot like 2019,” Gonzalez told HCM. “We’re already starting to have conversations around what a transaction might look like – likely another private equity play.”

The company was founded in 1990s by Barry Jay who opened the first site in West Hollywood in 1998. Military-themed, it was an extremely challenging workout in the nightclub-style Red Room. Over the years it has become more accessible while retaining the essence or, as Gonzalez puts it: “less punitive and more upbeat.”

Innovations have included the addition of a digital platform as well as the Ride workout – using bikes instead of treadmills – which is great for first-timers who are intimidated by the treadmills. And Lift, which is a strength-only modality in response to people opting out of the treadmill. There are now nine Lift studios.

Barry's now has more than 80 studios in 14 countries, including the UK, Spain, Norway, Canada and Singapore. Gonzalez has ambitions to get to 200 studios before 2030, through a mix of joint ventures and franchising. An Iberian partner was signed last year.

“I think our ability to deliver HIIT really differentiates us,” he said. “What we're focusing on at the moment is our Wow! initiative, ensuring every instructor is teaching Barry’s in a way that makes the treadmills and floor feel united. Where everyone’s on the same journey. Where there is musicality, choreography, drops and hero moments.”

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Barry’s – known for its HIIT workouts combining treadmills and weights – is thought to be looking at strategic options, including taking on a new backer.

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