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Standing out in New York City is hard, especially in Brooklyn. The southernmost of New York’s five boroughs, Brooklyn is the most heavily populated with over 2.6 million residents — and plenty of gyms for consumers to choose from.
One such club, Harbor Fitness, has found a way to stand out from the crowd. According to Mike Ganim, who co-owns Harbor Fitness with his brother, Chris, they’ve done so by emphasizing customer service and being personable.
“What makes us different from similar types of health clubs is our dedication to making every member feel as if they are coming home,” said Mike. “We, as a team, strive to go above and beyond for every member and guest we serve.”
Harbor Fitness’ four locations operate on two basic principles. “Remember, you make the difference” is the first. “This mantra is taught from the first day of employment,” explained Mike.
The golden rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — is the second principle Harbor Fitness strives to execute. “Treat members as you would want them to treat you if the roles were reversed,” preaches Mike.
This commitment to customer service is ultimately what has set Harbor Fitness apart in its marketplace for more than 25 years.
Before it became Harbor Fitness, Harbor Racquetball opened in place of Brooklyn’s Harbor Theatre in 1979. Ray Ganim, Mike and Chris’ father, became a part owner of the business and building in 1983.
“When we reopened the club in 1991, it hosted a small, 3,000-square-foot fitness center alongside several racquetball courts,” said Mike. “Today, over 25 years later and after several generations of growth, the club now boasts a beautiful 20,000-square-foot fitness facility. The club was professionally designed in contemporary art-deco style, refurbished to resemble the original [facility].”
Harbor Fitness has experienced steady growth over the past couple decades, but operating in such a heavily populated area hasn’t come without its challenges.
“With market saturation, every day is a challenge,” said Mike. “Twenty-five years ago, the question was, ‘Do you exercise?’ Now, the question is, ‘Where do you exercise?’ The customer has evolved as much as the industry has, so we really need to hone in on our strengths to be able to stand out and give people what they want.”
Mike attributes Harbor Fitness’ ability to stand out to the excellence of its employees. “A major key to our success is our staff and management,” he bragged. “We have always surrounded ourselves with the sharpest and most loyal people, many of whom have been part of our operation for over 15 years. Our success is greatly due to their ideas, concepts, programming and vision. Surround yourself with the best and brightest, and your success will surely follow.”
As his business continues to grow, Mike is staying focused on giving members what they need and what they’re asking for, as well as staying on the cutting-edge of the fitness industry.
“Follow trends and do what is necessary to stay relevant,” advised Mike. “We have seen competition come and go, and we are stronger than ever because of our persistence and adaptability.”
What will always motivate Mike to stay in this business is helping members reach their fitness goals, and journeying along with clients to healthier lifestyles.
“Over the years, I have seen thousands of people come through our doors and transform their lives through exercise,” said Mike. “They look terrific, feel amazing, have more confidence, perform tremendously at work, and relate beautifully in social situations as a result of what they have accomplished [in the gym]. For my brother, my great staff and me, what matters the most is helping people improve their lives.”