Turning Your Franchise Into a Power House
Row House President Ramon Castillon discusses his journey from finance to franchising.
By Mary Hanula
Ramon Castillon grew up determined. As the son of two parents who immigrated to the United States, Castillon approached life with an intense desire to make the most of it. “When I went to school, and my parents worked really hard to facilitate that, I always felt like it was important not to waste it,” he said. Castillon has travelled a path that his family helped shape.
“I always felt it important that I justify their own journey. From day one, when doors started to open for me, I really felt like I had a responsibility to take those opportunities very seriously,” said Castillon. One door that opened for Castillon was to finance, and as the years went by, he would gain experience in fitness and management roles, including working for 24 Hour Fitness. The best door, he explains, was the one he walked through into the franchising world.
Castillon offers this advice to people looking to get into franchising: find your passion. He believes the biggest reason someone becomes a franchisee is “because they know they want to own a business and they want to do something they are passionate about.” Castillon is an entrepreneur himself, and stresses the importance of location acquisition and design, and a robust staff training process. “My goal is that each franchisee only experiences the good, and that the way we train and support them is such that we are able to think ahead, so they don’t have to deal with the problems that could pop up.”
For those new to franchising, Castillon suggests doing your due diligence. If your franchisor is committed to helping franchisees grow and maintain a successful business, he said, and not just looking to “nickel and dime,” that represents a starting ground.
If not, then keep on looking until you do find something that suits both your passion and devoted time, he said. “Your life will intersect with what you love once you are working toward it.” By becoming part of a franchise that you care about, you make a conscious effort to be a part of something that benefits others while benefiting yourself, he continued.
"Your life will intersect with what you love once you are working toward it."
Castillon stresses this importance of solidifying your search process for franchise owners. “Unfortunately, there are some bad franchisees – but there are also a lot of really good franchisees, and those are the brands that you still see today, the ones that really feel like legacy brands.”
Levels of impact
Castillon got into franchising to do something that he truly loved. He was excited to employ both his passion and skills to a new industry, saying that franchising “creates another level that does not exist when you are building and opening studios yourself.”
Row House is a fitness boutique that provides real-time results. Castillon describes the teamwork that he sees every day, stating: “You see the impact you have on the individuals that are becoming team members at the studios.” Row House provides an environment that feels as if you are working toward a greater goal for yourself, while doing so with others.
Although Castillon had some experience rowing, he learns more and more each day. “What had me excited was that I really felt that the time was right for the brand,” he said. “Folks are looking for what’s next and the right and smart way to workout. Rowing is a really effective low-impact workout.”
Your own pace
People who attend Row House classes are able to exercise with their own intentions, whether to develop a better physique or something that puts them in a better headspace. No one is meant to feel as if they are alone – something that Castillon says drove him to the fitness franchise.
"No one is meant to feel as if they are alone."
“We are trying to teach every person how to generate their own power, but it is on them in terms of what they want to do. Because of the overall experience, no one person feels singled out,” he continued. “Rowing engages 85 percent of your muscles, so it is better for you than running, because running is mainly lower body and some core,” Castillion said. “With rowing, it’s your legs, it’s your core, it’s your arms, it’s your back. It’s everything.”
Ramon Castillon is steering Row House toward becoming a legacy brand, carrying his family’s determination and legacy with him on the journey.
Mary Hanula is a writer for franchise.org and Associate Editor of Franchising World magazine. Find out more about Row House at franchise.org/row-house-franchise-llc-franchise.