When Nik and Kati Rodriguez first opened Train Moment in downtown Chicago, they already planned to one day expand the strength-focused group fitness concept into Milwaukee as its second market.
Nearly two years later, the husband-and-wife duo is getting ready to open a studio in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. Slated to open in early- to mid-November, Train Moment will occupy a 3,700-square-foot space on the first floor of the Dye House building at 320 E. Buffalo St. The studio will include class space for up to 24 people, front desk area, and full-service locker rooms.
Train Moment offers 50 minute, instructor-led classes that combine low-impact strength training with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) on the VersaClimber full-body cardio machine. Classes are geared toward a wide range of experience levels, from beginners to current athletes.
The studio's founding vision was to offer the caliber of strength training that customers would receive from a one-on-one personal trainer but at a lower price point and in a group setting, said Nik Rodriguez, who played football at the University of Notre Dame and has built a career over the past nine years working for and managing various fitness brands in Chicago.
In 2016, he helped launch a one-on-one training facility, called Strive Village, but he soon realized the business was only accessible to a small subset of the population: "People that were paying $500 to $1,500-plus per month to train with us."
"I realized that excluded quite a bit of the population," said Rodriguez. "From observation, I didn't see anything out there that was servicing people who wanted good solid strength training but maybe couldn't afford that price point and didn't have the knowledge of their own."
After selling out his share of Strive Moment to his business partners, Nik and Kati, who has a corporate background in retail buying and began her career at Menomonee Falls-based Kohl's Corp., launched Train Moment in Chicago's West Loop in November 2019 -- not long before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The studio relied on virtual and outdoor classes while navigating temporary closure and capacity restrictions. Since reopening for in-person classes, business has continued to grow month-over-month and the studio has gained a reputation for cleanliness, which helps keep customers coming back.
The decision to expand to Milwaukee was an easy one for the Rodriguezs, who love the area and have remained connected through Kati's professional network at Kohl's Corp. As they developed the concept, the Third Ward always stood out as the right fit for a Milwaukee location, especially with its similarities to the West Loop.
"We see it as a great market that's continuing to grow and attract our prime demographic: young active people in their 20s and 30s," Nik Rodriguez said. "We've seen some great growth in the fitness market there and some cool brands continuing to open up their doors."
He mentioned Solidcore, a popular Washington D.C.-based fitness concept that opened in January, also on the first floor of the Dye House building. Others include Orangetheory Fitness and Club Pilates, which both opened within the past couple of years just north on Milwaukee Street, as well as SPIRE Fitness, Barre Code, Vita Physical Therapy & Fitness and Push Power.
"We're excited to be adding to the fitness community there in Milwaukee," said Rodriguez.
Milwaukee-based real estate firm Founders 3 represented both sides of the lease transaction, with Ned Purtell and John Davis representing Dye House owner Singerman Real Estate and Derek Yentz representing Train Moment.