Three young guys in very good shape can help you get fit.
Twenty-three year old Marcus Wallace maintains a modest, one-bedroom apartment at the Bon Aire on Prospect Ave. He walks to work, his destination CrossFit 414, in the Latitude building, 1857 E. Kenilworth Place. He is one of three owners who opened the exercise venue in August of this year. To get there, you could (depending on the weather), walk, bike or run the Oak Leaf Trail. It will take you almost to the front door on the first floor on the south side of the no nonsense Latitude building, whose name rhymes with “attitude.” CrossFit 414 has lots of that.
It would seem to be a good fit for Marcus, 6’3” and 215 lbs. of uber-health. The 2011 Yale graduate majored in history but played safety for Yale’s football team. (He confides that the Packers are “looking good.”) Preparing to work out, he is eager to talk about his part in the new business, for example, the little problems like waiting for their internet connection to power up, or figuring out a glitch in their phone service. Which has now been fixed so it’s okay to call, that’s 414-810-7670.
CrossFit 414 is spartan: 1,700 square feet of space, no showers; no lockers. Coils of thick rope, medicine balls for balance training, boxes for jumping on and off, and lined up in front of the north facing windows, a row of exercise boats for rowing. There’s no view of the lake — and not a hint of “spa” anywhere.
Some of the clients are young professionals who live in the apartments above, the oldest are two ladies around age fifty, waiting to get whipped into shape.
The three co-owners, Marcus Wallace, and brothers Jason and Jarrod Scuglik, were buddies growing up in nearby Germantown. All were athletes and interested in staying fit, and longtime fans of California-based CrossFit.
Jarrod, 29, went off to California and graduated from the University of Southern California (with a BS in Accounting), and immediately went to work as an associate for JP Morgan Investment Banking Group. He left JP Morgan in 2010 and joined Goldman Sachs where he is currently focused on Real Estate. He has always had a passion for fitness and health. In high school he played basketball, football, and ran track (his specialty was the 400 meters). At USC he didn’t get any playing time, but was a defensive back and played free safety. He participated in Ironman and triathlons.
“I continue to stay fit,” Jarrod says, but the banking business makes that a challenge, he admits, “especially when you deal with sleeping for only a couple of hours some nights.” He’s thinking about another Ironman in 2013 and planning to get certified as a trainer next year.
“Marcus and Jason and I have been doing CrossFit for years, well before it became mainstream,” he says. “I remember doing my first workout with them, thinking I was fit. I pushed myself to the max. The next day, I could not straighten my arms fully, they were so sore. It took about seven days for the soreness to go away.”
Initially, Jarrod thought about opening a CrossFit Box in NYC, but the saturation level (more than five in Manhattan alone) made the market unattractive. “Once we started doing diligence, and modeling out costs and a business plan, we decided Milwaukee was the perfect market.”
Back to Marcus, who takes the story from there: “For $3,000, we got more than the name. CrossFit also provides resources for affiliates getting started, and are very responsive to any problems. We own 100 percent of the business and do not have an obligation to pay them a percentage of profits. We are 100 percent in charge of what training we do in our gym, and how we operate. We also have a registered blog…for $10 per month.” They signed a three year lease with the owner/investors of the Latitude building.
Many of their clients are former college athletes, and initially, they were mostly women. Now the mix is about fifty-fifty.
Fees are not posted on their Web site. A client’s fitness needs are determined and a plan is tailored and costed out for the client. CrossFit advertises itself as “the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.” But you needn’t be elite or professional to join; in fact, you needn’t be fit.
“I like to see results with clients, plus we have a lot of fun,” Marcus says. When he’s not having fun, he uses any profits to pay off his student loans, buy food (which he cooks at his apartment), and meet his monthly rent. This past summer, his business partner Jason, visiting from Miami, slept on a twin sized mattress on the floor of Marcus’ apartment for eight weeks. Meanwhile, “we were securing a space, starting to get our name out, and getting our systems in place for the opening,” Marcus recalls.
Partner number three, Jason, emailed us from Miami, Florida, where he’s involved in “Teach for America,” a non-profit with the aim of educating students in low-income communities in the U.S. The 23-year-old Finance major from Ohio State University (class of 2011) will bid adieu to his mostly Hispanic and Haitian middle-school math students when the school year ends in 2013. He’ll return to CrossFit 414 as a full time trainer. “Marcus and I were so passionate about working out that we built an entire gym in his parents Germantown garage,” he recalls. Jason recently competed in Miami’s Pantheon Games, a competition for the seriously fit.
Yes, these three guys are very serious about fitness.
1857 E. Kenilworth Place