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Retail Operations: Not a Waste of Space


Boasting a boutique retail space within your health club can be a great strategy for earning ancillary revenue. In addition, it’s a way in which to add value to the customer experience, making your gym a one-stop shop for your members’ everyday fitness needs.

However, in order for your retail space to be successful, it’s important to sell products and brands that resonate with customers. Otherwise, your retail area will become a waste of space that detracts from the bottom line and is an operational nightmare to run.

“A retail space is just like anything else you want to do well — lots of hard work,” said Sam Stratton, the member service desk manager at Pura Vida Fitness and Spa in Denver, Colorado.

To ensure Pura Vida’s boutique retail space is hitting the mark, Stratton draws inspiration on what products and brands to sell from not only members, but also the gym’s trainers and instructors. “I want to sell what they are already wearing,” he said.

Pura Vida’s retail store.

As a result, Pura Vida’s most popular clothing lines include brands such as Free People, Beyond Yoga, Onzie, Ouray Sportswear, and Spiritual Gangster. “Besides Ouray, these vendors are all high-end yoga and lifestyle wear brands. They create bold colors and designs and are made with high-quality materials,” explained Stratton. “Free People and Spiritual Gangster have become two of my favorite brands to sell. Both companies use unique designs and loud colors. Their items always ‘pop’ and attract our members, clients and instructors.”

In addition, partnering with brands that have local ties to your community can be another factor in your decision making. “Ouray Sportswear is a Colorado company and they are the provider of our branded Pura Vida hats,” explained Stratton. “I believe it’s important to use hometown companies. It brings the community closer.”

When it comes to particular products that sell well at Pura Vida, that list includes items such as water bottles, hats, sunglasses, leggings, tanks, jackets and sweaters.

Each of these products provides a marketing opportunity — through the placement of the gym’s logo — for Pura Vida.

“Our clean and simple logo allows our brand to be ubiquitous on hats, shirts, stickers, posters — anywhere,” said Stratton. “This fall we will also sell branded beanies, hoodies and sweatshirts. Ouray will be making these items as well.”

No matter what products or brands you decide to sell in your boutique retail space, quality is important. After all, each item is an extension of your brand — with or without your logo.

“Selling quality brands and using unique styles and colors has always created ‘buzz’ around our space,” said Stratton.

Stratton also suggested keeping the seasons in mind as you curate products for the spring, summer, winter and fall. This goes for seasonal colors as well. The colors you offer in the fall should differ from those offered in summer.

Another pro tip to keep in mind is the importance of presentation. According to Stratton, it’s vital to consistently move items around and create different product showcases to catch members’ attention.

“I’ve found in order to make retail sales at a health club successful, you must mix it up,” added Stratton. “Creating ‘stories’ with colors and items is extremely important in catching members’ eyes. Many of the club’s users frequent the club five to seven times a week. They won’t notice your space unless you’re frequently changing displays, moving mannequins, and matching colors and brands.”

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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