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Q&A: Ken Phipps Weighs in on Historic Growth at Gold’s Gym

Gold's Gym

Growth never truly ends. Gold’s Gym, one of the industry’s premier brands, just experienced the most successful quarter in company history. Through domestic growth, new international agreements and one of its biggest global conventions, the third quarter of 2018 was a huge success for Gold’s Gym.

For more insight on this historic third quarter, what it means for the brand and how Gold’s Gym plans to continue its growth, we sat down with Ken Phipps, the brand’s director of global franchise development.

CS: Can you talk about this record-breaking quarter? How significant is it for the Gold’s Gym brand?

KP: It’s very exciting. Gold’s Gym is continuing to distinguish itself as a fitness industry leader. We started licensing in 1980 and we started franchising in 1999. Thinking about all those years of doing those two types of business models and now, in the most competitive fitness landscape to date, we’re able to go out there and have a record-setting quarter. That’s truly exciting, and it’s not just exciting for our new franchisees, but for our members and our company. It’s come through a lot of hard work, but we’re happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish and we want to maintain that momentum.

CS: What goes into building a successful brand to this point?

KP: We’re at a time in the fitness industry where we’re positioned to do a multitude of different things. Fitness is an individual journey, but we also ask how we continue to grow our fitness offerings through various models. We’ve now built corporate gyms — we have 150 corporate locations in the U.S. — but we also have a lot of franchisees, both domestic and international.

If you look at everything we’ve done in technology, how we’re differentiating ourselves and the amenities we’ve created internally that no other competitor in the entire world has, I’ve been positioned, as the director of global franchise development, to promote that. And it’s not just a selling point — it’s a true vision of how we can help people achieve their potential through fitness, all around the world through amenities under one roof.

CS: Where is Gold’s Gym headed next? Any big plans?

KP: As a matter of fact, after the release of our third quarter numbers, we actually have a new multi-unit franchisee that signed for the fourth quarter already. They’re going to be building five locations in the Phoenix area, and that was signed after our massive third quarter. We also have an additional location with another multi-unit franchisee that’s going to be building in the Vancouver area.

The growth is just fantastic, and people are excited to learn more about Gold’s. We are a full-amenity gym, so it’s a big investment — but it’s an investment no other competitor has. Our amenity selection is unmatched. Internationally, we are continuing to field multiple phone calls from a plethora of countries we’re not currently in. We’re currently in 28 countries, and we recently signed to open a gym in Turkey — that’ll make 29 countries. We are on every continent, so I like to say the sun never sets on Gold’s Gym. These are very exciting times as we continue to take our brand out there and have high-level investors and groups want to bring our gym into their countries.

CS: Are there any brand building tips you can offer?

KP: Stay true to your course and what you want to be. In the fitness industry, there are so many different things you could be. You can be a boutique gym, a high-value, low-cost gym, or a full-amenity gym. With a brand our size, we could’ve been any of those or all of them, but we chose to bring all that into one gym. We wanted to create our brand as a full-amenity facility — including boutique gyms within our four walls — and embrace technology. The investment we’ve made in research and development personally — no other brick and mortar gym is out there creating technology in-house — is truly incredible. So when you look at the evolution of fitness and embracing of technology, for a brand to not be investing and reinvesting in their own core competencies makes them just like everyone else. Then it’s just a pricing war.

We are truly creating a variety of amenities and technologies that are going to help individuals, whatever their journeys are. Whatever they’re hoping to accomplish, we have the thing to help at their disposal. It’s a very exciting time for us. And it makes my job more exciting, because I get to go out there with truth and transparency, and tell people where we are now. It’s all because of the work of our great team here at Gold’s Gym.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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