The fitness studio world entered the greater metro region not too long ago and slowly, but surely, began to build strength in numbers. Lucky for we busy workaholics who are obsessed with working out, setting up shop in multiple neighborhoods has quickly become a habit of those in the boutique studio trade. “It’s important that I am able to find a place where I can walk to from work or home, and/or have convenient parking,” a friend confessed to me. “Barre, yoga, spinning, CrossFit, Pilates, all these I want in my routine, but I want them near me.” I tend to agree, as does most of the capital area. Live, work, shop, play, dine, and now, get fit and beÂ healthy allÂ in one neighborhood.
Such is the idea behind Zengo Cycle, who just opened up its fourth location in the Fairfax’s booming Mosaic District. They are also found in Bethesda (the first studio which opened its doors in 2011), Logan Circle, Kentlands, and will be joining Pure Barre and solidcore in Cathedral Commons this fall. The enterprising entrepreneur who came up with Zengo Cycle is Marc Caputo. Marc is one of those affable, good-natured guys’ guy, who well, you’d just want to grab a beer with, or listen to him regale hilarious anecdotes during a BBQ. Then you sit down and have lunch with him, as I did recently, and you realize there is a lot more behind the friendly smile. Marc is a visionary, yes, but he’s all about execution, about creating a client experience that builds loyalty, and about caring for his staff in a very competitive market. With the financial backing of the expert team of Bethesda-basedÂ Streetsense,Â Marc knows that the future Zengo Cycle empire is believed in by the best in the industry.
Pamela’s Punch: Congratulations on your nuptials AND your recent honeymoon and thank you for taking the time to talk with us. I can see from social media and from other friends, you have been around the community for years. I know you are a “Bethesda” guy, but did you grow up here?Â
Marc Caputo: I was actually born in NY and grew up in Connecticut then after a few years in LA I moved to the DC area back in 1992.
PP: The metro area is really embracing the boutique studio business – finally! Why the sudden change of heart in this market? It seems like studios are popping up everywhere.
MC: I think it is just the reality of how our lives have changed. The big box gyms were the only option really other than yoga studios. The boutique concept really focuses on the overall client experience providing higher levels of satisfaction all around. More classes offered, better equipment, more qualified instructors and top notch amenities. I also feel there is a level of commitment and dedication on our clients part knowing that they pay per session,they are literally and figuratively more invested which creates a strong energy in the classes.
PP: What is YOUR favorite way to work out and stay healthy?Â
MC: Zengo has become more than a workout for myself and our clients it truly is a lifestyle. Hands down there is nothing that is as much fun as Zengo and that was the goal, not take ourselves to seriously and to make fitness fun. I would say playing basketball with my two boys, even though I’m horrible and they both played high school varsity but my youngest just graduated last week so that will be phased out sadly.
PP: How do you think social media has helped or hindered fitness services businesses like yours?Â
MC: It can be such a double edged sword as it really empowers a lot of people to have a forum to express positively or negatively. I think for us it has really kept us honest and on our toes. While you cant please everyone all the time we don’t take negative reviews or comments as anything other than a reality check. Is it true, is it valid, what can we do to correct and strive to be better. Our mission is to WOW and Delight our clients each and every time. We fall short of course on occasion but if we can learn from our mistakes and are conscious to strive for excellence then we are doing a great job. It’s such a powerful forum that can be really good for a business and easily tip the scales the other way. I personally address every negative email or post as my goal is to learn where, when and how we fell short of our clients expectation and strive to correct the situation or issue.
PP: What’s your best “fall on your face” moment so far? – we love to learn from mistakes!
MC: There are so many I don’t even know what I could classify as the best or worst for that matter. When we first brought our laundry in house as we wanted better, thicker fresher towels we purchased brand new commercial high efficiency washers. I never read the directions that said HE machines require minimal amounts of detergent! Â Needless to say the entire back room was literally a scene out of a Studio 54 in bubble party – big nightmare.
PP: And of course, your best memory or success story to share that makes you proud – and keep you going?Â
MC: To me the love comes from the clients. The stories of how we have helped clients cope with the death of a family member, divorce, weight loss, health issues, depression and on and on. While never the intention the result of indirectly touching so many lives in such a positive way is what drives me. We view our clients as guests in our home and this feeling of connection, of community, of family is the most amazing aspect of Zengo for me.
PP: If you aren’t at Zengo Cycle (or exploring expansions into other markets) where can we find Marc Caputo?
MC: Because my life isn’t that simple im kind of in perpetual motion. My wife whom I met 30 years ago and reconnected 6 years ago lives in NYC so I am back and forth all the time. Not conventional but it works for us. Zengo is pretty much a spouse as well as its 24/7 365 days a year and needs a lot of nurturing!! I love to cook which I don’t do often enough. I love to travel which is now relegated to the studios. But Zengo is a true labor of love.
PP: I would ask, what’s next for Zengo Cycle, but not sure you want to share because of the uber competitive industry!
MC: Someone is always watching yes! Immediately we are focusing on our 4 studios and getting ready for Cathedral Commons to open this fall. Our first out of market studio is in the works and will be announced soon. The rest will unfold in the coming months but lots of exciting opportunities.