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10 Questions with Chuck Cavolo


10 questions with Chuck Cavolo, the COO of Brick Bodies.

Chuck Cavolo, COO of Brick Bodies

1. What drew you to the industry? It wasn’t until 1985 — when Victor and Lynne Brick bought the club I worked at and became influential role models to me — that I saw the potential for a fulfilling career in the fitness industry. They inspired me to always learn and grow, to seek constant never-ending improvement and to challenge myself to get better, while challenging others to do the same.

2. Throughout your time at Brick Bodies, what is one of the biggest changes you’ve seen? The way people shop for clubs has evolved so much. Prospects used to call for information or walk into the club without knowing much about it. Now most people go to your website to learn as much as they can. The value of traditional marketing seems to decrease with each passing year, while a good digital strategy is crucial to survival.

3. What is an accomplishment you’re proud of? I started in the fitness industry when I was 15, folding towels at the service desk. I advanced into membership sales, sales manager and regional sales manager before becoming the chief operating officer and a partner. I am proud of how I worked my way through the ranks to become a partner in a company that now owns over 50 clubs spanning seven Brick Bodies/Studio B clubs and 43 Planet Fitness franchises.

4. What gets you most excited to come to work? No work environment can match the energy in our clubs. Nothing is more fulfilling than hearing the stories of people who have succeeded in achieving fitness goals.

5. What is one lesson you’ve learned? People make buying decisions based on emotion, and they justify the decision with logic. You therefore need to evoke emotion during the sales process, yet most membership reps incorrectly lead with logic by listing club features and emphasizing price specials.

6.What is one thing Brick Bodies does great? Brick Bodies is always prepared to evolve, while staying true to its core. Our core purpose, core values and brand promise drive every decision we make. It is important to create a culture that is willing to change, but it is just as important to know what not to change.

7. What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome? In 2013 we relocated our flagship club to a superior site directly across the street, allowing us to keep all of our loyal members. It wasn’t long before our membership base had more than tripled and we were experiencing parking issues.

8. How did you overcome that challenge? First, I struck a deal with the owner of an office building behind our club to rent 30 spaces for our staff. Next, I hired an expert who helped me come up with a plan to re-stripe and add more than 30 spaces. We also hired parking attendants to direct members during peak hours, and we spaced out start times of our classes to get more cars off the lot after each class.

9. If you weren’t at your current job, what occupation would you have? I would be a writer of novels and screenplays. In college I wrote a script for a TV show as an assignment for a TV writing class and entered it in a screenwriting competition, in which the finalists would have a chance to win a summer internship with a Hollywood studio. My script was chosen as a finalist, but I didn’t win the internship. A couple of years later, that TV show actually aired an episode with astonishing similarity to what I wrote, including specific scenes and jokes. I submitted my script as a student trying to earn an internship, and the jerks stole my work!

10.Tell us one fun fact about yourself. When I was a kid I often rode my bike to a local comic book store. The summer when I was 13-years-old, the owner offered me a job because he thought I was 16, and I didn’t correct him because it sounded fun to get paid to read comic books all day. He trained me for two days, then announced he was leaving on a 14-day trip and I would be running the store. I learned a lot about customer service, operations and problem solving that summer.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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