Boutique fitness studios pumping life back into malls

    A visit to an upscale suburban mall or a city shopping district used to be marked by stops at Gap, Sharper Image and Barnes & Noble, ending in a pile of shopping bags.

    Now, The New York Times reports, mall trips are more about taking a Pilates class, maybe followed by a $36 indoor cycling session if you’re really committed, then hitting the organic market to slam a $10 coconut water before making a quick stop for $40 cryotherapy.  

    The trend is evident in Baton Rouge as well, where Bluebonnet Village Shopping Center houses a Regymen Fitness next to a Rouses Market and is across the street from Perkins Rowe, home to multiple salons and NeuBody Cryotherapy.   

    As brick-and-mortar retail stores have taken a beating from the internet, yoga, Pilates, rowing, boxing, cycling, barre and H.I.I.T. studios are entering the spaces formerly inhabited by apparel, books and electronics stores. Taking a group fitness class, it turns out, is one of the few things you can’t order from Amazon. All the overexercising is also creating a new niche for entrepreneurs and landlords: wellness studios focused on recovery from muscle soreness, fatigue and, perhaps, hangovers.  

    Landlords are game for these tenants, too, says John Klein, a one-time real estate executive for fitness gym Equinox who now runs a consultancy focused on wellness, retail and apparel industry.

    “Boutique fitness is a lifestyle habit for millennials who like self-care and have a solid disposable income,” he said. Read the full story.

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