Retail Gets Healthy

Key Takeaways

  • Specialty fitness boutiques are expanding rapidly.
  • The North Main and Stone Avenue corridor is Greenville’s new in-town destination.
  • Strong growth is attracting regional and national retailers.

Fitness Boutiques Active in Market

The health and fitness trend has led to the popularity of specialty grocers, such as Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Lowes Foods and The Fresh Market, anchoring shopping centers and is changing the tenant mix surrounding them. Boutique fitness studios specializing in focused fitness programs or training are becoming increasingly popular and are starting to occupy spaces in anchored shopping centers. A change in use clause, a shift towards healthy lifestyles and emergence of cross-shopping has led to a wider acceptance of these fitness studios as co-tenants.

A move towards healthy living fueled by local and organically-sourced foods and leading an active lifestyle has popularized niche grocers like Lowes Foods, Whole Foods and Earth Fare. It has also popularized specialty fitness studios. Many of these fitness studios are locating near niche grocers and in return attracting similar establishments like outdoor apparel stores and juice bars.

Until recently, shopping centers anchored by grocers precluded gyms from occupying space in the center with use clauses written into their leases due to the competition for parking spaces. These use clauses can restrict the types of tenants that can occupy the shopping center or the products the tenants sell. However, the grocery market has changed in Greenville over the last decade. Previously dominated by large chains like Bi-Lo, Ingles, Winn-Dixie and Publix, today, Publix, Lowes Food and Harris Teeter are actively competing for the upper end of the grocer market while niche grocers Fresh Market, Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare and Whole Foods have expanded. As the fitness industry has evolved, grocers have become more willing to loosen these use clauses to accept boutique fitness studios and gyms as co-tenants.

Boutique fitness studios are popular for their offering of specialized and targeted fitness classes, oftentimes not requiring a membership fee. A shift towards healthy lifestyles and convenience shopping has also led to the emergence of cross-shopping, the act of parking in a shopping center with the purpose of visiting more than one business. Grocers and gyms co-occupying popular shopping centers provide the opportunity of convenience by giving customers several types of products and services in one place. Over the last five years, many shopping center owners and the grocery stores that anchor them have begun accepting gyms as co-tenants because they attract customers of a similar demographic.

Active fitness studios in the Greenville market include Pure Barre, Orangetheory, Core Balance, Cycle Bar, 9Round, Workout Anytime and Iron Tribe, which usually occupy between 2,000 and 3,500 square feet of space. Pure Barre has three locations, including one in the Earth Fare shopping center on Pelham Road, 9Round has 15 locations throughout the market, Workout Anytime is in four centers anchored by Bi-Lo and Publix and Iron Tribe has opened its second Greenville location next to The Fresh Market on Woodruff Road.

Cross shopping has been a major influencer on grocers loosening use clauses that now welcome fitness studios in their shopping center. The presence of these boutique fitness studios has in turn encouraged a co-tenancy with other health-focused tenants such as vitamin and nutrient shops, juice bars and outdoor apparel shops. As fitness studios gain popularity within the market, more will begin occupying shop space in grocer-anchored shopping centers.

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