Since he was 9-years-old, Dave Schluz has had a passion for fitness. Throughout high school and college he played football, ran track and did pretty much anything he could that involved constant movement.
In college his passions were split. As a double major in electrical engineering and exercise science, Schluz hadn’t decided which career path to follow. But he remained active and involved in fitness, even taking on a side job as a personal trainer in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Eventually, that job proved to be the one that would decide which career path to take.
After a few years working as a trainer, Schluz had made a name for himself. So when the club he had been working at closed down, people started to approach him about buying the club and re-opening it.
Due to lack of funds, he decided to manage the club, instead of purchasing it outright. As manager of Nantucket Health Club, he created all of the fitness programming and used his background in electrical engineering to revamp the punch card system the gym had been using.
Finally, after nine years of managing the club, Schluz and his wife had enough money to buy it. “Right after I bought the club, membership sales doubled within six months,” said Schluz.
As the owner, Schluz was able to modernize the gym. He added cardio and weight lifting areas, replacing the racquetball and squash courts the previous gym had been known for. He knew that on a small island like Nantucket, where everybody knows everybody, people love to talk and gossip, so he created a lobby where members could mingle.
Schluz said besides a few hotel gyms, there isn’t much competition on the island, which is an obvious benefit. At one time there was another gym nearby, but they quickly closed and Schluz made sure to buy all of the equipment to ensure no new competition arose.
“I just wanted to get that stuff the heck off the island,” recalled Schluz. “I mean, I bought everything. I bought the aerobic room floors, I bought mirrors — anything that could be reused, I bought it. I figured, let’s get rid of the competition before it even happens.”
Just because Schluz’s gym is the only major one on the island, that doesn’t mean he has a complete monopoly on his members. With a few CrossFits popping up, Schluz knows he has to constantly improve his gym to stay relevant. He buys new equipment every five years, and has added an outdoor training area for TRX and CrossFit-style workouts.
True to his personality, Schluz has remained a very active owner. He hosts three different races in the community every year, and even takes time to work the front desk about once a week.
“I take some slack off of the front desk every now and then,” said Schluz. “It’s good for me to be in here just to see what’s really happening. As an owner, not being active in your place is bad, bad news.”
So even as the competition begins to expand on Nantucket, Schluz is confident in the career path he finally decided on.
By Ethan Smith