LONDONDERRY — Later this summer, a CKO Kickboxing franchise will open at the Apple Tree shopping center in Londonderry, between Richter’s Jewelry and a nail salon.
Franchisees Louann and Brian Gentiluomo are currently working to renovate the space, and install 3,000 square feet of mats to cover the whole space and a rack system to hold 48 heavy bags.
Brian Gentiluomo said there will be a retail section of the gym that sells gloves, shirts and other items. Classes will be available for adults and children. Everyone works out with their own heavy bag.
“This workout is for all fitness levels,” Louann Gentiluomo said.
The current schedule will offer kickboxing classes throughout the week, with some as early as 5 or 6 a.m. and some as late as 6 p.m. or 7:15 p.m. The schedule may change over time based on demand and membership.
They declined to state how much it will cost to set up the business.
“We’re making a large investment overall,” Louann Gentiluomo said.
According to entrepreneur.com, investment costs for CKO Kickboxing franchises run from $112,997 to $378,447. The company was founded by Joseph Andreula in 1997 in Hoboken, N.J., and began franchising in 2007 after adding locations in New Jersey and New York. The company was ranked No. 448 in the magazine’s Franchise 500 last year.
There will be fewer than 10 employees at the Londonderry gym, seven of whom will be certified kickboxing instructors, including the owners’ son, Conner Gentiluomo, 21.
Louann Gentiluomo said the whole family got involved with kickboxing, primarily as a way to lose weight about eight years ago, when Conner was being bullied in middle school.
She said Conner lost 40 pounds, Brian lost 20 pounds and she lost 25 pounds.
“I’ve just always been into challenging myself physically,” she said.
She said she has run half-marathons, participated in an Olympic triathlon in Spain and competed in her first bodybuilding competition in Dover last fall. She also has her 200-hour yoga certification.
After 20 years of working in corporate sales, Louann Gentiluomo said she felt it was time to “take a leap of faith and try something different.”
They tried out different kickboxing gyms over the years, and were first introduced to CKO Kickboxing when they visited family in New Jersey. When she explored franchising with them, Louann Gentiluomo said they were a perfect match. There is another CKO Kickboxing franchise, CKO Kickboxing Belmont, in Laconia, and 90 clubs nationwide.
“Very quickly, we were impressed with the organization,” she said.
Earlier this month, Louann and Conner attended a training at the company headquarters in Hoboken, N.J.
Later this fall, Conner Gentiluomo will launch the kids program.
The Apple Tree shopping center has been seeing a rejuvenation in recent months, with millions of dollars in facade and infrastructure improvements by owner George Vernet, who bought the property last summer for $6 million.
After years of disrepair and vacancies, businesses have been moving back into the plaza, formerly known as the Apple Tree Mall, such as the Xtreme Craze airpark, the Southern NH Gymnastics Academy and Troy’s Fresh Kitchen & Juice Bar.
Dollar Tree has signed a lease for a 12,000-square-foot space, according to Apple Tree leasing agent Andy Levy, and he said more information will be coming soon.
For more information about the kickboxing gym customers can visit ckolondonderry.com.