Aurora first of 6 new sites for ILoveKickboxing.com
Dennis de Ramos was a marketing manager at IBM in Schaumburg and had worked for the company for about 20 years. But he had longed to be his own boss.
Since he enjoyed working out at a gym, he gravitated to ILoveKickboxing.com, which offers a physical workout without the typical treadmills and bicycles. It also offers a social networking component that reaches out to members.
"We use Facebook primarily to keep our members engaged, committed and connected to our staff and other members," said de Ramos, 47, of Glendale Heights.
He left IBM in April and now plans to open his first ILoveKickboxing.com studio at 4400 McCoy Drive in Aurora, just south of the Fox Valley Mall, around Dec. 15. Prices range from $13 per class to unlimited classes for $125 per month. The base membership fee is $197, but there are discounts if people sign up on their first day, he said.
It's the first of six locations he plans to own and operate over the next three years in the Northwest and Western suburbs and in Chicago. The other sites are not yet finalized, he said.
The Levittown, N.Y.-based franchise has about 300 locations nationwide as well as in England, Canada, Australia and Peru. There is an existing ILoveKickboxing.com in Plainfield that is not owned by de Ramos.
Members use gloves and learn a combination of moves, such as kicks, jabs, hooks and uppercuts. Members practice on bags, followed by a cooperative workout when members may be punching each other's gloves, de Ramos said.
Rather than rely on each franchise owner to do their own Internet marketing, ILoveKickboxing.com's corporate staff does the search engine optimization, generates leads, blogs, manages Facebook, among other duties, he said.
"There are thousands of members nationwide, broken out into different Facebook groups," de Ramos added. "For example, there is a Facebook group for each location, some with over 700 Facebook members. So members can shout out to other members that they are attending the 5:30 class, see who else is going, or shoot out praise to instructors or other members. ... The staff will shout out to members that haven't been out in a while that they have been missed and to push them to come back out so they can stay on track with their fitness goals."
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