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FROM ROW HOUSE MEMBER TO OWNER: Stephen Tall Tells His Love For Row House At First Row

Anne and I met at Trinity College (Hartford, CT) where I ran cross-country and track, and she rowed on the crew team. We believe in the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and we enjoy helping others be healthy. I am an avid runner, Anne is now an avid tennis player, and we row together. We lived in New Jersey and Texas when our kids were growing up, then moved to Maine, a place that Anne and I love. We moved to New Hampshire in 2017 so I could be closer to my office. I worked in financial services most of my career, specializing in wealth management, while Anne raised our family and did a lot of volunteer work with our kids’ schools.


what motivated you to consider purchasing a row house franchise over other fitness franchise options? 

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I was motivated to consider purchasing a Row House franchise due to a combination of my long-standing familiarity with indoor rowing and a serendipitous introduction to the Row House concept. My journey with indoor rowing began during my college years at Trinity, where I ran cross-country and track. The crew team had just incorporated Concept2 rowing machines into their training, so I started using their equipment. I've owned a Concept2 ever since then, using it to cross-train and build upper body strength, which significantly improved my running performance. 

In 2016, before Row House was acquired and expanded by Xponential Fitness, I first encountered the brand while in New York for business. Participating in the Concept2 January Virtual Team Challenge, I needed an erg to meet my daily rowing commitment. Through the Concept2 website, I discovered Row House Columbus Circle, conveniently located near my client's office. This firsthand experience with Row House's approach to indoor rowing, combined with my affinity for the activity, was the first spark.

When I decided to make a career change I came across information in the Row House app about being a franchisee. I was instantly attracted to the idea but I had to convince Anne to join me on this new adventure. I took Anne for a class at Row House Lovejoy Wharf, then owned by Gyee O’Malley, and she was so impressed by the commitment to inclusivity and low-impact movement, she was immediately onboard.


How has your fitness background in running and rowing influenced your dedication to owning a row house? 

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Despite owning a rowing machine for decades, there were long periods in my life when I neglected my health. However, a health scare in 2006 served as a wake-up call, prompting me to prioritize my fitness once again. I returned to running and incorporating the rowing machine into my routine, recognizing the importance of regular exercise in maintaining overall health. As I approach my 62nd birthday, I am committed to remaining healthy and vital well into my 80s. Inspired by the principles outlined in "Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, Sexy, and SmartUntil You’re 80 and Beyond," (Crowley and Lodge) I am dedicated to engaging in vigorous cardio exercise and strength training, maintaining a healthy diet, and fostering meaningful relationships and community connections. With my own journey as motivation, I am passionate about helping others live longer and happier lives by promoting the benefits of regular exercise and a balanced lifestyle through Row House.


How do you foster a sense of community and camaraderie among your row house members?


Fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among our Row House members is central to our mission at Row House Lovejoy Wharf. We believe that the community needs to evolve organically, so we strive to create an environment that encourages meaningful connections among our members and guests. These connections not only enhance the overall experience but also inspire consistency in attendance. Our commitment to inclusivity ensures that everyone, regardless of age or ability, feels welcome and valued within our studio. We celebrate milestones and themes to add a touch of excitement and camaraderie to our workouts. Additionally, we organize challenges such as our recent Resolve to Row challenge, where participants were grouped into teams, or "boats," led by a coach and an experienced member serving as a captain. These challenges foster teamwork, motivation, and friendly competition. Regular benchmarks help our members track their progress and set new goals. Above all, we cherish our time spent in the studio, whether it's reconnecting with long-time members, welcoming newcomers, or fostering friendships among our diverse community of rowers.


How has row house positively impacted a member's daily life or kept them motivated to come back? 


Members visit Row House Lovejoy Wharf for a wide array of reasons. Some are serious endurance athletes, while others are starting a fitness routine for the first time. One of our members started coming to us when prompted by his doctor, he realized he needed a routine to avoid the health issues common in his family. He ran track in high school but had been sedentary since then. Within six months he had lost a lot of weight and felt much more energetic. After a year he had reached a lot of milestones in his personal life and at Row House. Then he got a promotion at work, which caused a lot of stress. He stopped visiting regularly, so we reached out to him to give our support. When the annual Resolve to Row challenge started, he used that as motivation to return regularly. He is now back at it, and smiling again!

Looking ahead, what are your goals and aspirations for the future of your Row House location? 

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We hope Row House Lovejoy Wharf plays an important role in many peoples’ lives, as a gateway to a new fitness routine, a source of friendship, and a safe space where everyone feels accepted, supported, and inspired. When we are ready, this location will be the seed for a network of other Row House studios in Northern New England that spread the experience to more people. 




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