Wanda Brisco, an ACE certified trainer, started Waldorf’s 9Round 30 Minute Kickbox Fitness franchise in 2016, after training clients part-time for 12 years. She eventually left her full-time IT job at the Pentagon to pursue her own dream of owning a business; that business has grown and is now in its fifth year.
Starting a Franchise
In 2006, when Brisco decided to look into franchising, she thought it would be the easiest way to start a business. A friend had already started the process and introduced her to 9Round. She went to a Discovery Day in South Carolina and fell in love with the concept of 9Round, which provides members with fun, trainer-guided, kickboxing-style workouts in a circuit format.
Members’ workouts begin whenever they show up. Rounds switch every three minutes and you can hop in at whatever time you want. Their full-body workouts include a trainer, fit your schedule, and change daily. It’s a popular way for people to work out, even with a busy schedule, and Waldorf’s 9Round was growing.
COVID-19 and Business Relief Resources
“Right before COVID hit, we were on this incline growth,” said Brisco. “I’m not a quitter. I knew I was going to do whatever it took to keep this place open.” As soon as business relief resources came out, she started applying for everything she could. She said, “I applied for the grants from the State [of Maryland] first, and when they ran out of money, they sent me to the County.”
Brisco applied for the Charles County COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant, which was part of a $2.5 million program to provide financial help to local businesses. It was created using funds from the CARES Act and administered by the Charles County Economic Development Department. “I filled out the paperwork, and you guys were just amazing,” said Brisco. “You made it easy. I applied, and when I got it, I said, ‘Thank you, God!’ because I needed it. It helped me keep my employees. I had just one employee and myself. We stretched it and did everything possible with it.”
They were also able to get a grant from the State of Maryland and funding from the SBA, which she says, all came at the same time. The week before they opened back up (July 6), they received all the funding they had applied for.
“Once we got all the funding, we used it for advertising, to keep employees employed, and buy equipment that we offer with membership,” said Brisco. Their members get gloves, a heartrate monitor, hand wraps, a key tag, and swag bag with membership, so all of those things had to be bought and put back into the gym.
The Round9 franchise also helped. “9Round has been truly amazing with all of us,” said Brisco. “They have done everything they possible could.” The franchise cut their national fees and other certain fees for a period of time, as well as keeping them informed about PPP and other resources and helping with marketing. The Waldorf 9Round relies heavily on social media and word-of-mouth marketing.
9Round Fitness had to offer only online workouts at the beginning of the pandemic but has now opened up with a maximum of six people for scheduled class times. Normally, there is no class time; it just circuits every 3 minutes, total body in 30 minutes. Online workouts are still available for those who can’t come in person. Learn more about the Waldorf 9Round and even sign up for a free workout on their website or on Facebook.