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Business Observer Friday, Mar. 22, 2019 3 years ago

Cycling studio co-owner comes full circle

CycleBar Naples partner Jake Maulin started as spin class instructor, now serves 340 members at Mercato studio.
by: Andrew Warfield Staff Writer

Jake Maulin was in his hotel room in the south of France when he received a Skype call that would shape the next stage of the fitness enthusiast’s life. He and his wife, Holly, had previously bought a home in Naples and were taking a career break when a former client, Mark Washburn, contacted him with an opportunity.

“He said, ‘We know you are coming back to Naples, and are you interested in opening a CycleBar?’” says Maulin. “I went back to my wife and told her, ‘I think I just got a job.’”

Agreeing to a partnership with Washburn in a CycleBar franchise, says Maulin, was “a no-brainer.” After all, he had just spent more than two years traveling the country, helping to open some 30 franchise locations for the company that was founded in 2015 and now has 185 locations across the U.S., Canada and in England. Maulin served as senior master instructor, selecting and teaching spin class trainers in CycleBar’s signature rock concert style.

Washburn — previously a student in one of Maulin’s spin classes — sought Maulin's sense of purpose in developing the partnership’s first franchise in the north Naples mixed-use development of Mercato. While Maulin admits to a casual approach to business, commitment to a passion, he says, morphs into success. Beyond indoor cycling, he is also passionate about people. 

“The thing that inspires me more than anything else is humanity,” he says. “I am inspired by humankind, especially by those in adverse situations. I talk a lot about the human connection. The group will overcome the fatigue of the individual rider, and that applies to all aspects of life.”

"I have had riders tell me their marriages are better, their work life is better, they are sleeping better. We're having life experiences here." Jake Maulin

A former college athlete at the University of Missouri, the 35-year-old business management major previously found success in the restaurant industry in the Boston area. That career, though, resulted in an unhealthy lifestyle. So he left the hospitality industry, took up outdoor bicycling and became a fitness instructor at a local health club. It was there that one day he was asked to fill in for a spin class instructor who didn’t show up.

“I didn’t even know they had a spin class,” Maulin says. “I thought the room they held it in was a closet. After teaching that that first class, I knew indoor cycling was something I wanted to do. I had a lot of fun with it, so I kept teaching.”

Among those he trained were brother-and-sister Bill Pryor and Alex Klemmer. They later invited him to join them at a new riding studio they opened, which became the first CycleBar. 

Showing up for work the first day, he noticed the studio was being repainted red, the signature CycleBar color. He was told the studio was being rebranded. “I’ve always just kind of rolled with the punches,” says Maulin. “So I just got up on the stage and said, ‘Welcome to CycleBar, New England’s premier riding studio.”

The first Southwest Florida CycleBar opened in December with 310 members, thanks in no small part to Maulin’s 10,000-plus local social media fitness followers. The spin studio now averages around 340 members any given week. At $169 per month for unlimited access, annual gross revenues are about $700,000, excluding income from retail sales.

Jake Maulin started with CycleBar as a spin class instructor. Stefania Pifferi photo

Maulin credits his social media marketing and popularity as an influencer in part for the early membership figures. “My greatest strength as an entrepreneur is getting into people’s lives as a marketer,” Maulin says.

Together, the Maulins are the managing partnership team in the Naples studio while Washburn remains in New England. The franchise fee for a CycleBar location is $49,000. Costs of upfitting and equipment vary by location. CycleBar Naples has eight instructors, including Maulin, all working under lead instructor Zaneta Trapp. 

For the Maulins, managing a CycleBar means early mornings. 

 “We’re up at 4:30 a.m., we get to the studio at 5:30 and the first class is at 6,” he says. “We do about five classes a day. Our schedule is large compared to most CycleBars and cycling studios. We like to be convenient for our members.”

Maulin and Washburn have secured franchise rights for all of Southwest Florida. Although more locations are under consideration, there are no firm plans for now.

“Our eyes are always on the horizon,” says Maulin. “It's important to stay where your feet are. We have had conversations about opening more locations across Florida, and although I am a fitness professional and I’m not aligned to just one concept, my passion lies with CycleBar.”

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