According to Inc. Magazine, only four out of 100 businesses survive past the 10-year mark. American Family Fitness is one of those companies, recently celebrating its 30-year anniversary as a health club operator with nine clubs throughout central Virginia.
“It’s both humbling and rewarding, as we have gone through hills and valleys over the years,” said Brian Evans, the owner and president of American Family Fitness. “We started out in the lowest of valleys when I bought into the company in 1990.”
The tide turned, said Evans, thanks to a surge in growth that occurred between the late 90s and early 2000s. “[We] really expanded the size of our multi-purpose club offerings and grew our member base,” he explained.
Since, Evans said American Family Fitness has experienced mostly highs, now serving 85,000 members and employing more than 1,200 staff.
But it’s becoming more and more challenging to adapt in an industry that’s experiencing rapid change.
“Today it’s more about hiring the right people who want to serve, which has been a big change versus just filling the position,” said Evans. “It’s also about taking care of our member base and growing and changing our ancillary services within, as well as trying to adapt to technology to enhance the member experience at the same time — which is and will continue to be a challenge for awhile.”
No matter what evolutions occur, Evans said they will continue to cultivate strong relationships between staff and members — which has been a major key to their success over the last 30 years.
“Being here 30 years, we have a connection with the community, which is vastly important in today’s society,” added Evans. “No doubt a huge differentiator is keeping the human connection going between our members and making them feel like they are part of a special community. You cannot let technology ever take that away.”
Rachel Zabonick is editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.