#14: Debra Strougo Frohlich, Co-founder of Row House

In today’s episode, Joe Vennare is joined by Debra Strougo Frohlich, co-founder of Row House, to talk about:

  • What it takes to succeed in the fitness industry
  • Debra’s experience building and scaling a boutique concept
  • Why Row House stands out in a crowded studio landscape

About Debra Strougo Frohlich:

Debra Strougo Frohlich is the Founder of Row House, which she and her husband launched in 2014 with the intention of scaling.  Today that dream has been realized with close to 100 studio locations opened and about 300 studios committed to after just two short years of franchising.

Debra is a New York City native, and is fortunate to spend most of her time in Manhattan where she continues to own and operate Row House studios and her other brand, EVF Performance.

Debra began her career with a dual career: Business Development by day and fitness hustle by night.  With a background in digital analytics she worked for 5 years in content aggregation for an EW Scripps Company; launching subscription and advertising revenue.  Identifying that this could be the future of fitness, she launched Fitizens.com to aggregate Fitness Experts and Enthusiasts in 2007. Although this was a successful launch, it was before its time. While teaching fitness and doing various other biz dev projects in fitness, tech, publishing, etc Debra met her husband and business partner, Eric Von Frohlich and they proceeded to build two fitness studio based brands – Row House and EVF Performance.

As they were building those, Debra spent 5 years in NYC Tourism, under Mayor Bloomberg during his administration where the team was able to surpass tourism goals.  Debra’s direct contributions were in creating a million dollar business by generating revenue against NYC digital as well as hard assets. Partners included NYC businesses large and small, looking to reach NYC visitors from near and far.  She was also part of the original task force who created Broadway Week, which will persevere as Restaurant Week has as a NYC economic stimulus and mainstay. In 2014, Row House opened its doors to disrupt the fitness industry. Debra ran the studios and grew the brand until 2017 went she successfully created a partnership to expand Row House through franchising.  The company is now controlled by Xponential and Debra and Eric continue to operate Row House studios in NYC.


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