How do we best accommodate our members’ needs? As a health club professional, you’ve probably asked yourself that question several times — and when it comes to choosing lockers for your facility, there are several more questions that have to be asked.
Greg Patti, the national facilities manager at Wellbridge, said considering what members need is at the forefront in choosing lockers for the company’s more than 20 health clubs.
“Do members need to hang work clothes? Do they need to store tennis bags or racquets? Do they need permanent locker options? Do they need shelves for shoes or personal items?” These are all questions Patti said must be considered in the selection process.
Patti added a time frame is also of the essence when considering purchasing new lockers, likening the process to that of a car. He explained the more lockers are used, the higher the chances are they will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
He added the rate at which a club is growing, the ways the lockers are utilized, and the possible need for overall remodeling in the club will all play factors in the lifespan of a facility’s lockers.
Patti said at Wellbridge, the facility typically uses wood lockers with a laminate top. “There are a wide range of surface colors available and they are easy to clean and maintain,” he continued. “They are also easy to customize in terms of shelves, hooks and locks.”
As it pertains to locks, Patti said his club has transitioned to a keyless lock system over the past few years. He said keyless systems are much more cost effective in the long run, and help avoid member service concerns from missing keys. “Having to maintain a key system requires considerable man-power and cost,” said Patti.
To that sentiment, Steve Ellison, building supervisor at Baptist East Milestone Wellness Center, added perhaps the biggest issue he and his team face is having members forget what locker they were using or the combination of his or her lock.
Ellison also said durability is high on his priority list when it comes to choosing adequate lockers. “When it comes to locker selection I look at a couple of things,” he said. “Durability, how they’re going to hold up in a moist environment and the company.”
The lockers at the wellness center are adjacent to the club’s pool, so longevity is particularly important because of the atmosphere.
Patti said Wellbridge, too, has to consider that notion.
“While we most often use the laminate lockers, we use metal or resin lockers in bathrooms and locker rooms located by pools,” he said. “The wood has a better look, but the metal or resin lockers hold up much better in wet environments.”
Ellison added when it comes to locker selection, it might be best to stick to what you know and what works for you. “We bought several Ojmar lockers and put those in our family changing area, which has about 50 to 60 lockers,” he explained. “We did a trial there and they did really good, so we put them in the men’s locker room.”
He praised the remote-like functionality of the locks featured on the newly installed Ojmar lockers. “It’s almost like a remote control,” he said. “There’s no physical touching to the lock itself, like our other locks in that area, so it seems to be a better system, top to bottom.”
Ellison added in the past three years, he’s only had four failures (a situation where a locker didn’t work or function well).
A pinched wire or problems with the body of the locker are examples of things that could go wrong. In those scenarios, though, Ellison said the company that provided the lockers in the first place should be able and willing to replace the product if desired.
All things considered, Patti said regardless of the club, it all should boil down to one goal — member satisfaction. “Overall, we choose lockers that best fit our members’ needs and match the overall look and feel of the space,” he said.