A husband and wife team, Patrick and Melissa John crafted a unique fitness philosophy driven around fitness, nutrition services and holistic therapies in 2006 when they opened their first club, “MINT,” in Dupont Circle in Washington DC. Offering members a complete wellness experience, health and tranquility are at the forefront of their minds, and are the cornerstones of their two Washington DC locations.
MINT, named after the refreshing, energizing, organic and unique qualities of its plant counterpart, serves as a space for members to work on their bodies and heal their minds. “To us [holistic wellness] means taking care of the body on a practical level through all of the modern resources, in a supportive and ‘retreat’ setting. There’s nothing more important than our health and taking care of ourselves,” said Patrick. “Our goal is to help you reach your peak performance both mentally and physically.”
Patrick owned and operated a smaller club in Silver Spring, Md. for 10 years before founding MINT, and the experience managing a club was where he attained his love for the industry. He and his wife moved to Washington, DC in 2000 and decided to create a club that more closely fit their brand goals. “[We] had a vision for a more wellness, tranquility branded club,” said Patrick.
At first, success was a curse instead of a blessing. “Honestly, [we] grew too quick — we weren’t ready. We responded by bringing in more industry veterans. Then the economy went down, which didn’t affect us as bad as most of the country got hit, but as consumer mindsets changed we focused more on the experience and overall services than volume.”
By sticking to their core values — holistic wellness and tranquility, and utilizing Patrick’s knowledge of how the micro economy affects the macro economy — the couple was able to make it through the recession to keep fostering a tranquil environment for their members. “Of course it’s cliché, but hard work and focus is always the cornerstone,” said Patrick. “Concept is only the beginning. Company culture is one of the most difficult, time consuming, exhausting tasks of any leader — but you must be relentless and get it right or you’re toast.”
The refreshing and energizing qualities of mint that helped them beat the recession can be seen in almost all facets of the club — from aesthetic appeal to the many services and amenities MINT offers. Nutrition advice, acupuncture, spa services, personal training, yoga and Pilates all serve as revitalizing tools for MINT’s members to utilize. “We actually love our members, maybe too much,” said Patrick.
The emphasis on mental and physical tranquility can be seen highlighted in the Dupont location’s MindBody yoga studio — specifically located in the corner of the club to filter out noise and distractions and create the perfect meditating atmosphere. Patrick and Melissa realized the importance of creating an environment that allows members to practice yoga peacefully, fostering restoration and focus.
Through their struggles, which ultimately led to their success — Patrick and Melissa have kept the MINT philosophy at the forefront. Instead of falling in line with the structure of other successful gym brands, they used their unique niche to cement their club within the community. “We’ve never looked at other gyms as ‘competitors,’” said Patrick.
Using MINT, Patrick plans on getting his members in tip-top, or “mint condition.” “We truly care, we listen [and] our facilities are designed to feel like home.”
By Rachel Zabonick