Wilton’s Emma Halliwell is kicking off the new year as the new owner of Burn Boot Camp, a personal training and fitness franchise located at 37 Danbury Rd.
Just weeks ago, Halliwell acquired the franchise from a Fairfield couple who first opened the location in 2019, only to see the COVID-19 pandemic cause a major disruption to their operations just a few months later. While they were able to sustain the business, their interest in selling the franchise in late 2021 coincided with Halliwell’s desire to have her own business.
“All the stars just aligned,” Halliwell said. “We very quickly came to a deal… It’s just been a bit of a whirlwind really, from shaking hands and saying, ‘Yes, let’s do it’ to then suddenly owning a brick-and-mortar gym.”
Halliwell had previously envisioned a start-up of her own, and had begun to investigate locations in surrounding towns.
“You always dream that you’re going to have your own business,” she said. “I was imagining finding a location somewhere else, building it from the ground up.”
That was before Halliwell discovered her passion for Burn Boot Camp. Though she had been working privately as a personal trainer for several years, she was not associated with a particular gym — until a friend urged her to try a class at Burn Boot Camp.
“I fell in love with it,” Halliwell said. “About 15 minutes into the workout, I thought, ‘I’m going to have to join this place.’ It really was amazing.”
Three months after joining, Halliwell became a member of the training team.
“More Than A Gym”
“It’s more than just a gym,” Halliwell says. “It’s very different [from] a regular gym.”
“We call ourselves a boutique gym,” she continued. “It’s personal training in a group setting.”
Halliwell frequently refers to the “community” at Burn Boot Camp.
Community events, like yoga instruction, are free to members. Some events even take place outside the gym, such as a recent outing at a comedy club.
The company’s website describes “a community that keeps you accountable” in addition to support for members that includes one-on-one nutritional guidance, complimentary childcare and access to virtual workouts.
The company began with a single location in Charlotte, NC in 2012, and today has awarded over 400 franchises in 38 states, according to the company website.
GMW spoke with Halliwell just after she had attended a franchise partner meeting, which has given her plenty of ideas and inspiration for the business.
“There’s loads I want to do!” she exclaimed. Halliwell revealed some of the new ideas might result in additional camps (possibly a lunchtime camp) and some new equipment.
BBC is located in the Wilton Sportsplex, behind the shopping center anchored by Dunkin’ Donuts and Cook’s Nook on lower Danbury Rd.
Halliwell suspects lack of visibility may be hampering residents’ awareness of the business.
“Brand awareness is my major to-do in the next six months,” she said.
While Halliwell wishes she could have more prominent signage at the street level, she raves about the interior space.
“People are surprised when they come in,” Halliwell continued. “There are no machines.”
Instead, Halliwell says, members use free weights, pull-up rigs and other equipment, but also benefit from another unique feature.
“We have an amazing, patented floating floor,” Halliwell explained, which reduces impact on the body.
Weekly training protocols are designed so that members can work out every day, without overworking specific body areas.
Until Jan. 16, Halliwell is offering four weeks of membership for $69.