Q&A: Jackie Mendes Joins World Gym International
World Gym International has hired Jackie Mendes as director of franchise sales for North America. Prior, Mendes served as director of RealRyder International, and will bring 18 years of experience in the fitness industry to the role.
Here, Mendes shares what drew her to World Gym, what she’s most excited about concerning the opportunity, and the brand’s plans for the future.
CS: What drew you to World Gym? What excited you about this opportunity?
JM: What drew me to World Gym is the people, number one. The company, the family that owns it — the Cammilleri family — and the leadership were the number one drivers for me. When you’re working tirelessly like we do, being around the people who have their hearts in the right place and who are truly there to serve their customers or franchisees is the kind of people I’m used to working with and whom I want to surround myself with.
Number two would be the name, of course. The brand is a powerful brand, it’s a global brand. It’s been through a lot of different phases and I feel like I’m part of the most exciting phase there may ever be. We’re launching a lot of new initiatives and I’m really excited to be at the forefront of this new chapter.
CS: Can you share World Gym’s vision for the new few years?
JM: We have two models available now for franchising. We have a full-service club model, and we have a studio model called World Gym Athletics. We have proven out the studio model. It’s a team training program that is very successful with all of our large full-service clubs. So it’s been a studio within a full-service gym that has proven itself time after time. We’re taking that and now it’s going to be a standalone studio to compete in that space, and I think it really is serving a need in that space from a strength and conditioning standpoint.
We also are excited about opening our flagship studio. We have three corporate-owned facilities right now in the U.S. One is a full-service club in Oxnard, California. Another is a full-service club in San Antonio, Texas. And then now we’ll have our first studio model in Costa Mesa, California, which will be adjacent to our new corporate headquarters. That will be opening in late September or early October, and will serve as a training center for franchisees where we host our discovery day when we are working with franchise candidates, and where our company conducts its business as well.
CS: From your perspective, why is World Gym a great franchise opportunity that entrepreneurs should consider?
JM: I think we have an iconic brand name, a flexible model and intelligent, very cutting-edge or leading-edge programming and a team behind it that is highly experienced in the fitness industry across all positions and levels. They are servants to the franchisees, there to support you every step of the way. I don’t know a lot of franchise companies that you can get the CEO on the phone. So I’m just really proud of that close personal support. I think that’s really important.
I think the flexible model and the iconic brand name are really important as well. I have a lot of studio experience, and that’s one of the reasons they hired me. So when I was with RealRyder, I worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and first-time studio owners. I understand this market very well and I think as this market continues to grow and become even more competitive than it already is, being an independent owner is a really tough road. And as the market consolidates in the coming years, I believe being part of a big brand with a strong support network is what will keep folks alive for the long term.
CS: Is there anything else you want to share in regards to why World Gym is a great franchising opportunity?
JM: The only other thing I would say is as far as the programming goes, the strength and conditioning piece I think is so critical from a results standpoint — the fact that we are high touch and we can really engage people. I think a lot of facilities don’t really take the time to get to know a new customer’s personal goals, especially in the studio space. We give them a free workout, maybe a free week. They take a class. We hope they like it and if they don’t, that’s it. You never see them again. Our model is very high touch. We truly want to see people achieve their goals and we’re tracking them through our system to ensure they do see results. We do that in our full-service clubs and I think that is a big differentiator.