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Kick start

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  • | 11:00 a.m. June 16, 2017
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t's hard to say no to someone who calls himself The Cannon and has “former IKF Light Middleweight Kickboxing Champion of the World” on his resume.

But that's not only the reason 9Round, a kickboxing gym franchise concept, is expanding rapidly — both on the west coast of Florida and worldwide, from the Middle East to Mexico.

The company is also growing quickly, says founder Shannon “The Cannon” Hudson, because of its quick-hit, 30-minute, get-it-done workout classes that feature real boxing bells ringing. The shorter classes are a time departure from other exercise trends, such as hour-long classes at places like Orangetheory and CrossFit and 45-minute classes at SoulCycle.

The approach, adds Hudson, appeals to busy business executives or others who struggle to find minutes in the day to exercise. “Our philosophy is intensity over time,” Hudson tells Coffee Talk. “We make that 30 minutes really count.”

Greenville, S.C.-based 9Round opened its 500th location in Orlando, in early May. That was followed later in the month with a new location in west Bradenton, its first in the Sarasota-Manatee region. Other 9Round locations are in Clearwater, Dunedin, New Port Richey, Oldsmar, St. Petersburg and Tampa. “Florida is a fantastic market for us,” Hudson says. “We have a lot of momentum. It's an exciting time for us.”

The 9Round program is a proprietary and copyrighted system that consists of nine, three-minute stations of activities that include cardio, weight training, core exercises and kicks and punches on 100-pound, double-end, upper cut and speed bags. Members have a 30-second active break between rounds to recover. There are no set class times and routines change daily.

Hudson co-founded 9Round in 2008 with his wife, Heather Hudson, and the couple now runs the business together. The ambitious growth targets at 9Round call for 1,000 locations by the end of 2018 and 5,000 open by 2030. The company generally looks for the right franchisees and then targets the market where he or she lives, rather than expand on geography or straight up demographics. The right franchisees, says Hudson, range from young people starting their first business to ex-military to experienced entrepreneurs. “We have a wider spread we can hit that way,” Hudson says.


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