Company Description

Alkalign is a fitness and wellness studio concept that first launched in 2015, just down the street from Stanford University. It expanded further and launched its first franchise location last year. In July 2017, the team formed the holding company, Alkalign Holding Company LLC, to consolidate and streamline the two business models. The company currently operates two corporate-owned studios in Silicon Valley (Menlo Park and Los Altos) and has two franchise locations (Irvine, CA and Grand Rapids, MI), and it has its sights set on new growth opportunities.

Owner Erin Paruszewski graduated from Georgetown University and immediately began a career in finance and operations. In 2009, she decided to switch careers and pursue her passion in fitness.

Erin is a "balance evangelist" and believes in a long-term, sustainable approach to health and wellness. A dancer and competitive athlete throughout her childhood, Erin had torn her ACL as a teenager. The experience not only completely altered her life trajectory, it shifted her perspective on fitness and exercise.

Erin first opened a Barre studio franchise in Menlo Park in 2009. She expanded with a second location, successfully running two studios for over 6 years. Throughout that period, she tested and iterated on the barre concept, digging into the research around new strength-building, recovery and health programs that targeted the balance and wellness goals that her students were seeking. She wanted to create an inclusive environment where students could re-train their bodies to move better and more mindfully with the ultimate goal of balanced, healthy living.

In 2015, she launched her new model and identity – Alkalign.

Alkalign’s promise is to provide safe, low impact workouts that are challenging and highly effective. It’s “beyond the barre.” The philosophy of the studio is centered around a holistic view of training that is community-driven but also tailored to personal needs. Classes focus on core strength, balance, flexibility and mobility. Personalized nutrition and lifestyle coaching, fitness apparel, and mobile video solutions that fit her students’ lifestyles have been rolled out to round out the studio’s offerings.

Even beyond the exercise itself, the studio is built on a physical foundation of green living. The Menlo Park studio was awarded an "Environmental Quality Award" by the City of Menlo Park for its use of organic, sustainable materials in the construction of the space. Further, everything from the cleaning supplies used to the hand soap in the bathroom is toxin-free and organic, consistent with the company's mission.

Alkalign's clear vision and comprehensive solution was met with interest and demand from other studios, and potential owners began approaching Erin about bringing the concept elsewhere. By the end of 2016, the first franchise location was opened in Irvine, CA and the second began in Grand Rapids, MI.

The management team at Alkalign has over 30 years of fitness experience combined. Its track record includes the successful operation, expansion and required training involved in scaling the business.

Alkalign aims to become the #1 holistic boutique fitness and wellness brand nationwide by 2025. Through this offering, the business aims to strengthen its infrastructure and support further expansion with franchisees across the country within the next year.

Business Model

The strength of Alkalign's community starts with its group of highly trained instructors. Every instructor undergoes 200 hours of training in areas ranging from functional mechanics to anatomy to injuries and modifications. The training empowers them to work with a range of clients with varying needs and training objectives. This foundation of knowledge and culture of warmth and holistic care is what sets Alkalign apart.

Alkalign’s current business is primarily driven by studio classes and memberships, and additional streams of revenue come from Alkalign Anywhere (video subscription), Nourish (nutrition and wellness coaching program), and Alkalign’s branded apparel.

Alkalign’s class offerings include varying levels of training and intensity. Classes include:

  • Barre Align (Alkalign’s signature class on balance and flexibility) 
  • Cardio Align (a High Intensity Interval Training program) 
  • Barre Express (a condensed 45-minute class) 
  • Recharge (emphasizing stretches and massage) 
  • Cardio + Recharge 
  • Express + Recharge

Students can purchase classes a la carte, or they can buy various class packages and monthly subscriptions. An annual Core+ membership gives students discounted rates throughout the year, including benefits for family members and discounts on different products.

The team has launched new verticals for the Alkalign brand, some more recently unveiled with additional opportunities in several new areas.

  • Nourish (launched in 2016, this is Alkalign’s seasonal nutrition and health coaching program)
  • Alkalign Anywhere (launched in 2016, allows members to subscribe to online videos and train remotely)
  • Branded retail includes apparel and accessories, currently only found in-studio
  • Additional opportunities include new training programs, Alkalign Café (selling juices and healthy snacks) in each studio, Alkalign packaged food, and flagship health and wellness centers in select markets

The business has built a strong base with close to 2,000 active clients and over 200 Core+ Members. Alkalign Anywhere has organically generated over 100+ online subscribers.

For Alkalign Franchising, new owners pay a franchise fee per studio plus monthly royalties and monthly marketing fees.

The focus for expansion is in secondary and tertiary markets, outside of highly competitive cities, as well as internationally. The opportunity for growth is greater, and the demand for this concept can be found globally.

Barre is becoming a household name. According to the American Council on Exercise’s 2015 Industry Trend Report, barre grew globally by 141% over the prior two years.

Primary expenses for the business encompass leases for the studio spaces, team salaries (currently only 3 full-time staff, plus part-time instructors), and branding and marketing campaigns to drive the message.

The business’s target customer demographic and psychographic profiles are underserved. The studio serves individuals who are forward-thinking when it comes to their health. Specifically, individuals with a long-term view of their physical well-being, understand the importance of sustainability, and thrive in a supportive vs. competitive group dynamic. The regimen is designed for men, women, athletes and weekend warriors alike. It also appeals to a market of individuals who have experienced injuries and are motivated to recover and prevent further issues (post-partum, baby boomers, athletes, anyone with a previous injury).

Location Analysis

Alkalign currently has four existing locations, including two corporate-owned studios and two franchise studios.

The two corporate-owned studios are located in the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Menlo Park: 3528 Alameda de Las Pulgas, Menlo Park, CA 94025 
  • Los Altos: 249 1st Street, Los Altos, CA 94022 

The franchise locations are found in the Los Angeles Metro area and in the greater Grand Rapids, MI area:

  • Irvine: 6286 Irvine Blvd, Irvine, CA 92620 
  • Grand Rapids: 523 ADA Drive SE Ste 101, ADA, MI 49301 

Menlo Park

Erin first began operating in her Menlo Park location in 2009. She started as a franchisee with a barre studio in the space. In 2015, with the reinvention of the concept and a complete rebranding, Alkalign was launched in the same spot. Revenue for the new business has grown since the flip.

The studio is conveniently located in the University Heights neighborhood, just a mile from Stanford University and the famed Sand Hill Road, home to some of the top Venture Capital firms of Silicon Valley.

In addition to its proximity to the University, the neighborhood is transitioning. Older residents have moved out of single-story ranches, and new, younger families have taken their place in new two-story homes. This change hasn’t altered the neighborhood’s sense of community, benefiting from the lively business district on Alameda de las Pulgas.

Within just a half-mile radius, Alkalign’s location has a median income that exceeds 275% of the national average and approximately 150% of weekly average expenditures. (Piinpoint)

The map below shows the location’s proximity to other fitness studios. There are currently no similar studios in University Heights. 

Los Altos

Nestled within Santa Clara County, Los Altos is just 40 miles south of San Francisco in northern Silicon Valley. Tree-lined streets and a small village atmosphere characterize Los Altos along with its sense of strong community living. Over 200 volunteers assist in providing City government services to the community each year, and Los Altos became a leader early on in recycling programs when it began curbside residential collections.

Within a half-mile radius, Alkalign’s second corporate location has a median income of approximately 266% of the national average and approximately 147% of weekly average expenditures, well above the national average like its first location.

The map below shows Alkalign’s location relative to other fitness centers. Note there are no other barre studios in the surrounding area, giving them an advantage.

Meet the Team

Erin Paruszewski
Founder & CEO

Erin is the founder of Alkalign Studios and is as passionate about business as she is about health and wellness. Erin brings nearly 20 years of experience in investment banking, corporate finance, marketing, product development and Six Sigma project management and studio management to her role.

Prior to launching Alkalign, Erin owned and operated two barre studios as a franchisee. Over the course of six years, Erin identified the needs of her clientele, how her studios were delivering effectively, and where her programs were lacking. That experience coupled with her vision and business acumen led to the creation of Alkalign.

Erin is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Lizzie Hammerman
Program Innovation & Franchise Development

Lizzie joined the Alkalign corporate team at its inception in 2015 as a co-director of innovation, responsible for evolving Alkalign’s class offerings. Since then, Lizzie’s role has expanded to include Franchise Development and Operations. She is excited to work with the corporate team and prospective and current Alkalign Studios franchise owners to provide them with a smooth, turnkey start-up and operational experience.

Lizzie received a BS and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University and gave up her full-time engineering career to expand her role with the Alkalign corporate team. She has found immense satisfaction in her day-to-day interactions with Alkalign’s amazing family and wants to bring that experience to communities everywhere.