ARC Athletics

Interview with founder Gene Schafer

ARC Athletics is Tribeca’s personal gym space. It’s a fitness and performance training studio where your training is personal. It has everything you need (really – it’s a much bigger space than it seems) from getting ready for the marathon (which Gene has run a few times himself), or simply keeping in shape, or recovering from an injury, or helping train your kids on how to be better athletes. With over 20 years of athletic training, and a NATABOC certified athletic trainer, Gene can get you the body and health you want.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in South Bend, Indiana (home to University of Notre Dame). I went to Purdue University and earned degrees in athletic training and health education. After being in Chicago a few years, helping run a sports medicine and physical therapy studio, and spending a year in Philadelphia, I came to NYC.

How did you start your business?

My wife Jane and I moved to NYC 19 years ago because she was doing a business show for CNN at the time. I then worked for PlusOne gym at Goldman Sachs, as a personal trainer, I then took an athletic training position at Columbia University (while going to Teacher’s College for a degree in Physical Ed) for various sports, such as the men’s basketball, track and volleyball. After about five years there, I really wanted to start my own training facility to provide individual training to people, and ARC (Active, Rehabilitation and Conditioning (ARC) Athletics) was born in 2005. Originally, we were uptown near Columbia University but, when Columbia bought the building where my studio was, we moved the family and the studio to Tribeca in 2011.

What is your business best known for?

I suppose ARC is best known for me, since I provide all the training but it’s all about the personalized training program to suit each client’s needs and goals. I have clients ranging from 10 to 70 years old and coming from different locations as well, e.g. Riverdale, Upper West Side and New Jersey.

What is the best part of being in Tribeca?

We love Tribeca. It provides that big city feel in a small town world. Tribecans are about fostering community. We love living and raising our kids here and I am lucky enough to have my business be here too. I have marvelous clients in Tribeca who are great to work with – they are dedicated to bettering themselves and believe in my work.

How do you market your business?

Marketing is really mostly by word of mouth and referrals, but I love sponsoring the local kids’ sports team – i.e. the baseball and soccer teams - every year. I love supporting those groups that do so much for the kids and I also get a kick out of seeing a kid run by on the street with an ARC Athletic shirt. We also ran a “Father’s Day” 1-mile run, which was a lot of fun. It’s all about being part of the community.

What advice would you give anyone starting a business in Tribeca?

For any business anywhere, it’s all about knowing your market. The Tribeca market is really a local one. Yes, I do have some long-time clients who come from outside of Tribeca, but most of my clients are in Tribeca, so doing business in Tribeca means you need to be a part of the community.