Paola Horvath is the Franchise Owner of 12 Orangetheory Fitness studios in the Capital District, Rochester, Buffalo & Hudson Valley, NY regions. Soon after graduating from college, she joined her husband to start & grow Accurate Disposal, Inc, a garbage removal company that merged with County Waste after 10 years, where she then served as a minority partner. After leaving the garbage & waste industry in 2011, she spent a few years angel investing & business consulting.
While in South Florida, Paola took an Orangetheory Fitness class & was instantly hooked. From there, her focus became getting Orangetheory Fitness to the Capital Region in an effort to provide people an opportunity to enjoy fitness & a healthier lifestyle. Orangetheory Fitness is the #1 workout in the world, with their main focus being results. Attendees are led thru a class with a professional Coach where they use heart rate based interval training. Orangetheory Fitness works with all fitness levels, from first timers to Athletes. What they do inside an Orangetheory Fitness studio will give their members more life outside.
While Paola was confident in the business model, she was still nervous bringing Orangetheory Fitness to the Capital Region. She started her venture in 2015 in Niskayuna, NY. In the beginning, the hard part was selling a concept that had not previously existed in this area. The initial focus was educating the area on what they offer. To start, they used some grass roots marketing where they placed orange bicycles out & about to help draw interest & awareness, in addition to going door to door. An important marketing tool they also embraced was Social Media. It allowed them to easily share what Orangetheory Fitness was all about.
Like so many business, Orangetheory Fitness was affected by the pandemic as they were forced to shut down for over 6 months. One of the most difficult moments was when Paola had to lay off 98% of her team, whom she credits to making her successful. During this time, she made it a priority to have regular communication with them, even though they were no longer employees.
Once they received word that they could reopen in August of 2020, they were able to bring back almost their entire staff. However, they were still faced with challenges. Not all previous members were ready to come back, in addition to the social distancing & reduced capacity guidelines they had to meet from New York State. In a business sense, those guidelines prohibited them from operating at the full capacity they had available prior to the shutdown.
On a corporate level, Orangetheory Fitness makes it a priority to give back to the communities their studios are located. Locally, Paola has worked with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society & ran for the LLS Woman of the Year to raise funds & awareness for blood cancers. While she wasn't sure at first, she ultimately broke some records in 2018 & was named the LLS Woman of the Year.. She raised just under $170,000 & credits her success to her friends, family, business contacts & her Orangetheory Fitness community. There were studios across the US hosting donation classes for her cause. She kicked off her campaign with a 90 minute donation class held at 2 local studios that wrapped up at midnight - the exact time that she could accept her first donation.
In addition to LLS, Orangetheory Fitness has made donations to the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society & has worked with other local 5Ks. They also frequently open up their studios & donate their studio & coaches time for anyone looking to do a Donation Class, be it a local community member in need or a larger organization. Paola has served on many boards including the Chamber of Schenectady County, the SCCC Foundation Board & currently serves as a board member on the NY State Fitness Alliance.
Paola loves to travel with her family & enjoys living the sweaty life. She challenges anyone to take a class with her & experience how Orangetheory Fitness is changing lives every day! Locally, you can find an Orangetheory Fitness studio in Niskayuna, Clifton Park, Latham or Albany (Guilderland).
Listen to the full interview below to learn more about Paola Horvath & Orangetheory Fitness. If you'd like to contact them, click here.
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