LONDON, United Kingdom — London-based boutique fitness operator BLOK is set to launch in Manchester, as the British city continues to attract an influx of wellness brands.
Due to open in July, BLOK Manchester will mirror the brand’s two existing sites; delivering award-winning signature classes across three bespoke studios. Along with a gallery space, long term collaborator Ben Cullen-Williams will produce a series of artwork, echoing the brand’s core values of fitness meets fashion, art and design.
It will join the likes of Barry’s Bootcamp, Pret A Manger and FaceGym which have all helped to bolster the city’s burgeoning wellness market over the past 12 months.
“Manchester was a natural choice for the third BLOK as it is such a key location for art, design, fashion and technology,” commented Reema Stanbury, Co-Founder of BLOK.
“We are drawn to creative hubs and Manchester, especially the Northern Quarter, which has a thriving and growing creative community. Our goal has always been to create more than just a gym and for every BLOK site to be a genuine destination,” she added.
Having first launched back in 2016, thanks to a positive response from consumers the brand quickly grew, signing a lease on an additional 2000 sq ft just 6 months later, which doubled its capacity.
A year later it went on to sign the lease for BLOK Shoreditch, which opened in 2018, and it shows no signs of slowing down with Manchester set to open this summer and several more sites in the pipeline.
“It’s hard to put your finger on a single reason as to why the brand works so well,” Ed Stanbury, CEO and Co-Founder of BLOK told Welltodo.
“We just try and make everything the best it can be. The best classes, beautifully designed studios where you want to hang out before and after class – art, design, fashion… and great coffee and shakes. I guess if I had to pick one thing though, it would be the variety of classes and the focus on progressive, skill-based training. You can never get bored at BLOK because you never stop learning — I’m yet to meet anyone that has fully mastered all of the disciplines you can learn here, and for me, that is the real key.”
With Manchester, the aim is to replicate that model.
In order to do so, Lululemon ambassador Leo Oppenheim has been charged with leading the way as the brand’s Head of Fitness, and will recruit a team of instructors to deliver BLOK style classes and skill-orientated workshops. From barre to boxing and beginners yoga, members will be able to choose from 25 different class styles, while weekend feature-length special workshops will encourage clients to improve their physical and mental fitness, whilst fine-tuning their skill sets.
But the brand isn’t narrowing its focus on the city completely. “We don’t believe that class-based fitness has to be transitory – full of gym tourists hopping around town between various soulless studios,” Stanbury told us.
With that in mind, BLOK will also launch its first wellness retreat this July. “We see BLOK as a community, and the retreats are part of the wider offering we are building to serve that community. We have also launched BLOKskills, and BLOKrun, and have several other projects launching in the coming year,” he added.
According to the former property developer and restaurant owner, the opportunities are endless.
“The hardest part is ensuring that we grow at a rate that allows us to maintain the incredibly high standards we set for ourselves, and to keep the culture within the company that makes it all so enjoyable and rewarding,” he concluded.