In late December 2013, Bill McBride, the former president of Club One, and Jill Kinney, Club One’s founder, announced that the duo had partnered yet again to launch “Active Sports Clubs,” an entirely new health club brand.
McBride spoke exclusively with Club Solutions about the venture, including his and Kinney’s vision for Active Sports Clubs.
CS: How will Active Sports Clubs differ from Club One?
BM: Active is focused on the local aspects of the communities in which it operates — more of a boutique-focused approach specifically [focused] on member engagement in a commercial club setting, with branding to create a unique member experience.
CS: What specifically will make Active Sports Clubs have a more “community-based” approach?
BM: We do many of the things local club operators focus on, but we are expanding [by] diving into a broad base of causes and charities our members care about, with events to raise awareness and funds — Boys and Girls Club, Carrousel Fund — plus expanding to many more. It is truly a lifestyle focus, not simply a fitness focus.
Sometimes with broader focus, you try to get the site to fit the company for economies of scale and efficiency. With changing consumer demands and simply what is most fun, rewarding and effective, we wanted to focus on [the] core of the business: people (community) first, product offering second, process in which you deliver third — and if you get those right, you will be profitable and able to serve.
CS: Why do you think this concept will be successful?
BM: Our team has the experience, track record, passion and commitment. Additionally, we understand the changing consumer demands with information consumption and the ever-increasing high expectations members have on the member experience. Service in club environments is in our DNA.
CS: What’s the vision you have for Active Sports Clubs?
BM: Our mission has been and remains to create an inspiring environment to help people make positive changes in their lives within their local communities.
CS: How many locations do you expect to open and in what areas of the country?
BM: We are selective in our expansion plans as we want to enter markets where we are confident we can contribute to the communities in which we serve. We do not have a quantifiable number of sites as a true goal. This is a quality over quantity approach. With that said, Jill and I have received several requests for consideration and have some development plans under way.