Where are they Now?
Over the years, Club Solutions Magazine has placed dozens of health club owners, operators and leaders on the cover. Companies featured, and the brains behind them, have included 24 Hour Fitness, NeV, Crunch, Anytime Fitness and countless others, spanning the U.S. and international businesses.
Some of these leaders have gone on to do even bigger and greater things than when they first graced our magazine’s pages. For example, Rodney Steven II, the owner of Genesis Health Clubs, appeared on our cover in November 2011. And, this past year, he landed the first page once again, after the company doubled in size in the span of just a couple of years.
Michael Olander Jr., on this month’s cover, is another great example. First appearing on the cover in May 2010, at the time the entrepreneur was just starting out in the industry after founding O2 Fitness. Now, he is the founder of not just O2 Fitness, but also MDO Holdings, a holding company that has invested in additional fitness businesses and a variety of other industries.
There are many other examples, but below are a few more with a comment from each individual on what they were thinking the year they appeared on the cover, in addition to thoughts on where they are today.
Business: Lift Brands
On the Cover: Peter Taunton, CEO and Founder
Digital issue: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/24a07167#/e8c2b9b9/1
Background: Peter Taunton has appeared on the cover of Club Solutions multiple times, previously as just the founder of Snap Fitness. But in 2015, his title expanded to CEO and founder of Lift Brands, a parent company that had multiple fitness brands under its umbrella, including Snap Fitness, Steele Fitness, 9Round and Fitness on Demand. When Taunton appeared on our cover in April 2015, Lift Brands was gaining traction.
Peter Taunton reflects on where the company is now: “There have been no surprises. I knew our team would both grow in numbers and expand within the wellness space. Same goes with how competitive the industry has become and how it continues to evolve. It’s been a lot of hard work not just by myself, but the entire team here at Lift Brands. The biggest change came with the discount players. These brands have driven the price down, but they haven’t increased the value of the deliverable to the consumer. More people are exercising today than ever before, and the consumer is far more sophisticated. It’s crucial to have a product that exceeds their expectations and brings a real value to their lifestyle.”
Business: Chuze Fitness
On the Cover: Kris Peterson, Co-owner
Digital issue: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/24a07167#/68923aa6/1
Background: In February 2014, Chuze Fitness and co-owner Kris Peterson appeared on our cover, six years after launching the fitness chain. Neither Peterson, nor his partners, had any background in the fitness industry prior to founding Chuze Fitness. Today, it has more than 16 clubs in California and Arizona, with five more in development.
Kris Peterson looks back on the issue: “Looking back a couple years, we did not think we’d be where we are today. We were committed to growing the company, but didn’t realize how quickly things may move along. When we think back we realize how far we’ve come in such a short period of time. We’ve continued to evolve our model into what we feel is one of the most compelling value concepts in the industry. A recent new relationship with an equity partner has helped fuel our growth with 16 clubs currently open and five more clubs to open by the end of this year. The future of Chuze looks bright!”
Business: The Claremont Club
On the Cover: Mike Alpert, CEO
Digital issue: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/24a07167#/69c03163/1
Background: During our August 2014 interview with Mike Alpert, the CEO of The Claremont Club, he revealed a passion for using exercise as medicine, announcing the launch of the Project Walk program, which helps those with spinal cord injuries. As the first Project Walk franchise in the world, The Claremont Club has helped pave the way for using exercise as medicine, and boasts a variety of programs for chronically injured and chronically ill populations.
Mike Alpert looks back on the issue: “Looking back I really did think I would be where I am today. The things that motivate me and give me purpose have only gotten stronger. I feel blessed to work in this industry and to be surrounded daily by some of the finest human beings I know. I believe strongly in ‘exercise is medicine’ and strive to be a major player in helping to merge the experts in health care with the experts in fitness. I don’t know why they continue to work so independently of each other when we know that exercise has such a powerful effect on health care.”
Business: Newtown Athletic Club
On the cover: Jim Worthington, Owner
Digital issue: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/24a07167#/e07196af/1
Background: In July 2013, Newtown Athletic Club was in the midst of a huge undertaking: its “Big Build,” which saw $8.5 million invested into the facility, resulting in the addition of a 41,000-square-foot sport training complex and a four-acre family pool resort. The investment was expected to double the club’s yearly revenue, which was roughly 15.5 million at the end of 2013. Now, the brand is on the cusp of yet another “Big Build.”
Jim Worthington looks back: “Looking back on July 2013, I knew we would continue to expand, as our modus operandi has always been to ‘grow or die.’ In the past three years we have had the opportunity to again reimagine and redesign a club that will fill the needs of members for the next 10 to 15 years. As a result, we are ready to embark on a 2-year, $10 million, 20,000-square-foot new construction and 15,0000-square-foot renovation project.”
Business: Club One
On the Cover: Bill McBride, President
Digital issue: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/24a07167#/20e45a22/1
Bill McBride has appeared on our cover not just once, but three times, in a variety of capacities. In January 2012, he appeared on the cover as president of Club One, a club chain based in California. A few years later, McBride left the company, but found his way back again in 2015, when the majority of Club One’s assets were purchased by Active Sports Clubs, which was co-founded by Bill McBride, Jill Kinney and Carey White. Now, McBride is President and CEO of Active Sports Club, which has a number of exciting initiatives going on this year.
Bill McBride reflects: “In January of 2012, I worked as the president and COO of Club One. I expected I would be the president and CEO of Club One by this time. I expected that I would still be working with my amazing team. I expected I’d be dealing with the current assets and management contracts in a broader role. What I didn’t expect is the pathway that led to my Club One departure, starting BMC3 (a consulting company), co-founding Active Sports Clubs, our company acquiring the majority of Club One’s assets and then forming a joint venture with an amazing health care system: St. Joseph Health. There were a lot of wild twists and turns. Things are better and brighter than I could have ever predicted. The journey’s path didn’t always have a lot of visibility directly ahead and is/was quite the ride. The most important thing: I’m still passionate and doing what I love, and that is helping people improve the quality of their lives. Thank you for forcing me to do some introspection and causing me to smile on what I’m grateful for.”
Business: The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers
On the Cover: Greta Wagner, Executive Director
Full story: http://clubsolutionsmagazine.com/2011/12/the-sports-center-at-chelsea-piers/
Background: The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers is one of the premier athletic facilities on the East Coast, sitting on the Hudson River on the West Side of Manhattan. A well-respected company, it first appeared on our cover in December 2011, led by executive director Greta Wagner. Since, it has recovered from Hurricane Sandy, which caused millions of dollars of damage to the spacious complex. In addition, a second location opened in Connecticut, which Wagner is now the executive director and executive vice president.
Greta Wagner discusses Chelsea Piers’ biggest changes: “There have been a lot of changes and events since 2011. In 2012, Chelsea Piers New York was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. All 28 acres of the New York facility were covered in five feet of water that sat in the facility for 10 hours before receding with the tides and storm surge. The ownership of Chelsea Piers asked me to lead the employees in a massive demolition effort and then organize more than 400 workers into two shifts that worked 16 hours a day to rebuild the complex with the help of more than 40 contractors that were brought together by the head of site operations. Amazingly, the facility reopened its doors after five weeks. It was the hardest and proudest five weeks of my career seeing the heart and soul of the company, from the owners, all the way down to the maintenance workers, from every venue, work side by side.
Chelsea Piers Connecticut is doing very well. New York is rebuilt and ready to weather what comes. It has been a busy, exciting and proud few years embracing each of these challenges. Check back in another five years, it’s fun to reflect and amazing how fast time goes by!”
Business: Gold’s Gym (franchisees)
On the cover: Lori and Jeremy Lowell, Co-Franchisees
Digital issue: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/24a07167#/7ee7b929/24
Background: In October 2010, Lori and Jeremy Lowell, Gold’s Gym co-franchisees, were coming off the high of a huge honor: Being named Franchisees of the Year by Gold’s Gym International. Since, the Lowells have transformed in a variety of ways. In fact, Lori Lowell appeared on Club Solutions’ cover again in December 2014, after the announcement that she and Jeremy had opened a new Gold’s Gym with a twist: Gold’s Gym: Elite Training Center. The new concept had a huge focus on Group X, which is one of Lori’s passions.
Lori Lowell reflects on 2010: “We feel that since 2010 our mindset has shifted somewhat. Originally we anticipated growing and opening more clubs. In 2011 we opened quite a few clubs, but in 2013 and 2014 we really took a good hard look at where we were with our existing clubs and decided to focus on what we currently have and slow down our growth. Over the past few years with changes in the industry and our franchise, it was difficult to develop territories, so we have immersed ourselves in making our existing clubs as successful as they can be. We continue to work to develop unique differentiation with programming including group personal training, and continue to research the best program options for our members. Our newest club (Gold’s Gym: Elite Training Center), which opened in October of 2014 did just that; a unique quality of programming and interesting options.”