It’s a frigid, sub-zero evening on a gritty block in Chicago’s edgy Uptown neighborhood, and CorePower Yoga is bustling with activity. Twenty-, thirty- and fortysomethings stream in and out of the sleek storefront, clutching mats, gym bags and at least one portable dog carrier, it appears. Hard to tell on the last detail as I’m huddled in my car across the street, surreptitiously observing the comings and goings in an effort to gain insights on a company whose store count has mushroomed in the Chicago area over the past few years (19 and counting). You see, despite being an avid cyclist, runner and weightlifter, I’ve not yet mustered the self-confidence to publicly showcase my limited stretching ability and utter lack of flexibility. So I watch—for now—from a distance.
I’m a dwindling minority, with the number of yogaphiles growing rapidly across the United States. Interest in yoga and Pilates has soared over the past two decades as consumers have become more aware of their benefits and interested in alternative health practices. Market research firm IBIS-World has singled out CorePower as one of the industry’s top four companies, making it very appealing when the Denver-based yoga studio operator went looking for a private equity investor to help grow its U.S. presence. That enthusiasm was fueled no doubt by the successful PE investment in yoga apparel maker Lululemon in 2005.
For CorePower, the process played out quickly.
“CorePower Yoga’s unique and proven business model, along with its attractive financial profile and substantial growth opportunity, led to an extraordinary level of investor interest in the company,” says Paul Jevnick, managing director at middle-market M&A specialist Green Holcomb Fisher, which advised CorePower on its recapitalization.