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By:  Herbert Burgunder III, PK Law Member Corporate and Real Estate

After receiving an employee severance package from Air Products in Sparrows Point, Ken Jacobs and his wife Julie considered numerous franchise concepts before settling on 9Round, a kickboxing gym that is rapidly expanding. After opening their first location in Canton in 2015, they now intend to open a second gym by the end of the summer. Founded by the former International Kickboxing Federation Light Middleweight Champion of the World, Shannon Hudson, 9Round consists of nine separate work-out stations that take approximately thirty minutes to complete, with all activity supervised by a trained professional. Stations one and two focus on the use of dumbbells, kettle bells, a medicine ball and a jump rope. Stations three through eight involve different punching and kicking techniques using heavy bags. The final station, or round, emphasizes the development of abdominal muscles and the strengthening of the core.

Q. What other franchise concepts did you research, and what attracted you to 9Round?

A. We looked at many different concepts after being recruited by a franchise broker, such as cell phone repair, popcorn kiosks, and Rita’s Italian Ice. But we gravitated towards 9Round because Julie and I both recognize the importance of physical fitness and believe this approach’s workouts offer that in an extremely creative and successful manner. The exercise routine emulates the same workouts used by actual fighters and personalized trainers help the participants through every round. There are no classes to sign up for and you proceed at your own pace. No machines are involved. The entire workout is body-weight powered.

Q. Did you have any preconceived notions about going into fitness?

A.Not at all. My son’s assistant kindergarten teacher didn’t want to teach anymore so we took her to look at a 9Round for a possible new career. She positively loved it, which originally opened our eyes and our minds. 9Round is extremely customer-oriented as trainers spend the entire time with people when working out. They are never alone, and, as a result, work out in the proper manner. I know every one of our customers by name and many say they feel like 9Round is their second home. You are not competing with the person next to you because everything is completely individualized. Women can shed up to 500 calories per workout, while some men can burn off approximately 1200 calories. The workout is different and challenging.

Q. Describe your average customer and how often do they work out?

A. Probably a woman in her mid-to-late twenties that lives or works near Canton. However, we also have customers that range in age from sixteen to seventy years of age. People visit between twice a week and seven days a week. One monthly service charge covers all workouts – they are unlimited.

Q. Describe some of your daily challenges.

A. Striking a work-life balance and, also, coming into this company with no real business background. My wife is my partner and we work as a fantastic team. With small children at home, it is important to spend time with them and I am able to drive them to school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. I basically work here in the evenings. Times can be stressful, so that is why it is good to have these punching bags to work off steam. My high blood pressure and diabetes issues have been virtually eliminated.

Q. What are your expansion plans?

A. We will be opening our second location at Belair Beltway Plaza by the end of summer. Belair Road is near home to us, and we wanted our second location to be within our comfort zone. We are familiar with the neighborhood, the people that live here and the dynamics of the marketplace. We are completely convinced that local residents will embrace this exercise concept and support us.

Herbert Burgunder III is a Member in PK Law and part of the firm’s Corporate and Real Estate Group. His primary areas of practice are real estate (including commercial, residential and real estate litigation), land use and zoning (variances, conditional uses, grandfathered use, non-conforming uses, special exceptions, zoning appeals and change in use), business law, contracts and landlord/tenant issues. Throughout his years of practice, Mr. Burgunder has developed a keen eye for direct communication and smooth transactions. Simple documents and straightforward language are his hallmarks. A real estate purchase might be accomplished with a two-page contract. A zoning memorandum of law will speak directly to the issues before the board or zoning commissioner. Mr. Burgunder is a 1994 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law and a 1991 graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government.

Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) is the eleventh largest law firm in the Baltimore area and has been serving clients for close to thirty years. PK Law maintains full-service offices in Towson, Columbia, and Bel Air and is comprised of more than 60 lawyers, paralegals and law clerks. Practice areas include corporate law, real estate, zoning, education law, estate planning, elder law, labor and employment, litigation, insurance law and medical malpractice defense. For additional information, visit Contact Herbert Burgunder at