MONROE, CT — Ajay Gautam, a local entrepreneur, seized an opportunity to open a Row House location at Century Plaza, 535 Monroe Turnpike, providing a full-body workout for clients taking the indoor rowing classes it offers.
Row House Monroe is the national franchise’s third Connecticut location. The others are in Westport and Stamford.
“It was a good business opportunity to bring something to Monroe,” Gautam said, “and my wife asked me to join a gym. I like the rowing aspect of it. There was nothing like it in town, so it clicked.”
“Rowing is for everyone,” said Ritka, Gautam’s wife, “even people with knee issues. This is low impact.”
Row House Monroe offers 45-minute classes in the morning, afternoon and night, seven days a week. All classes are led by a coach. The gym is open from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
For those thinking of joining, Gautam is offering a free one-week membership.
Filling a niche
On Friday, Row House Monroe celebrated its grand opening.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by First Selectman Ken Kellogg, Director of Economic & Community Development William Holsworth, Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Ray Giovanni and Eric Sippin, assistant vice president of marketing for Sippin Commercial Real Estate, which is leasing space to the business.
Several Chamber members also attended the grand opening.
“We’re really excited to welcome Row House,” Kellogg said, while standing outside the building. Motioning toward the sign over the neighboring storefront, he added, “and as you see, Cycle Bar is coming as well.”
Since CVS pharmacy moved out of Century Plaza, which is anchored by Big Y World Class Market, and into a new space along the commercial strip, Kellogg said three businesses will fill the vacancy.
Warehouse Wine & Spirits, relocated to Century Plaza from across town after Biomerics expanded within its building on Main Street. Row House Monroe opened and Cycle Bar will open soon.
“It’s a net increase,” Kellogg said.
Giovanni expressed enthusiasm over the unique workout style Row House Monroe brings, adding to the diversity of the town’s businesses.
“Sippin Commercial Real Estate is thrilled to have Row House Monroe joining our amazing businesses here at Century Plaza,” Eric Sippin said. “It’s been a tremendous effort outfitting the space and getting it to the point where it’s a perfect fit for the town.”
Sippin said he believes Row House Monroe will fill a niche in town, adding his hope the business will thrive there.
Row House Monroe has a large, dimly lit studio in back of the gym with 26 rowers. Music fills the room when coaches hold workouts.
In the front, clients can change in the bathrooms and the wall outside the studio has rows of lockers for their belongings. A water fountain is filled with purified water.
Clients can also purchase merchandise in the storefront, including Row House baseball caps, tank tops, T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags and water bottles.
Ajay Gautam and his wife live in Trumbull with their two sons. When pursuing ownership of a Row House franchise, he tried to find a location close to home.
“We looked in Trumbull, but didn’t find a location that would work,” Gautam said, adding of Century Plaza, “it was a natural thing. Monroe is next door. This location worked out great. A Big Y is here. There’s great exposure with a lot of traffic in this complex.”
For information, to join Row House Monroe or take advantage of the free one-week-membership, call 203-273-6179, send an email to Ajay Gautam, [email protected], visit the website, Facebook or Instagram pages.