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A Hybrid of the Typical Gym

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David Greene has worked in big box clubs since he started training at 18 years old, but started to feel that the clubs were more focused on sales as opposed to member results. “I wanted to start something different,” said Greene, the CEO of Willow Bend Fitness Club in Plano, Texas. “Something that focused on the members and their needs.”

Greene, 37, developed what he considers a hybrid between a studio and a big box club. They offer personal training, Group X classes, Pilates, a cardio theater and weight training equipment.

“We have made sure that we have a very clean and modern gym with the latest state-of-the-art equipment available, but what makes us successful is our people,” Greene said. Willow Bend has been in operation for about two years now, successfully. “We want our members to feel like this is their ‘home away from home.’ We have also hired and recruited the best trainers and instructors in town to ensure our clients get the most out of their training experience. I believe the hands-on ownership has helped too. We are able to get things done a lot quicker than big box clubs.”

What truly makes Willow Bend a hybrid is the ability its trainers have to bring in their own clients. “Our most successful trainers have about 70 percent of their own clients and 30 percent internal clients,” Green said. “We have also just added an amazing equipment Pilates Studio to our club. This has given a whole new clientele that we never had before. The Pilates program fits right in with the club — it’s the perfect marriage.”

It makes sense that Greene’s club is so member oriented, because it was people that made him get into the fitness industry in the first place. “I have always loved working out and being around people,” Greene said. “What better way to have the best of both worlds by getting involved with the fitness industry. I love the personal training and service side of what the industry is all about, doing this right will ensure success.”

Keeping the focus on the members takes a lot of planning by the management staff, which includes weekly management meetings that focus on the needs of the members. “Our systems are everything at the club,”
Greene said. “We make sure that they are practiced and followed daily.”

Willow Bend uses a lot of Internet marketing to stay in tune with its members and prospective members. “Our marketing is based online with social networking and using SEO on the Internet,” Greene explained. “Our trainers and instructors are some of our biggest tools to grow our membership, too. We give them an amazing place to work, which makes it very easy for them to bring their clients to us.”

Greene feels his member experience also helps separate his club from the pack. “We are different because of our service and the size of the club,” he said. “You aren’t just another member here — you are our friend and client. We carry the same state-of-the-art equipment as a normal big box club, but it is our service and atmosphere that separates us. We are a very friendly, high-energy gym. I also believe our trainers and training program separates us from all the other clubs in the area. Because of the lower overhead than a big box club, we do a rent structure like a studio with internal training like a big gym — a hybrid.” -CS

By Tyler Montgomery

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