Insights from 2019’s Top-Read Cover Stories
Over the past year, Club Solutions Magazine has shined a spotlight on a number of innovative health club operators making a positive impact on the health and fitness of their communities, in a variety of different ways. Here, we share insights and takeaways from each of these unique cover stories.
February 2019: Change Agent
Subject: Jim Worthington, owner of Newtown Athletic Club
Overview: Jim Worthington, the owner of Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pennsylvania, has understood the importance of change since he took ownership of the club in 1981. In the cover story we touch on a number of key changes he’s made to the club’s business model over the years, including the recent $14 million renovation and expansion project labeled “Breaking Boundaries.” As part of the project, the club’s multipurpose group exercise rooms were eliminated and replaced with brand-new, boutique-style group exercise studios created specifically for modalities like yoga and Pilates.
Takeaway: According to Worthington, for clubs that have the resources to incorporate boutique-style studios, this is the way to go. “Back in the day, it was all about maximizing space and getting as many bodies in the door as you could,” said Worthington. “But now, people want a higher-end experience, and that’s what we’re striving to create through these boutique offerings. Our goal is to provide a superior experience that is packaged even more attractively than a boutique studio and includes not just one, but all our offerings for the same cost as a boutique — or in some cases, even less.”
March 2019: A Window of Opportunity
Subject: Lynne and Victor Brick, owners of Brick Bodies and Planet Fitness Growth Partners
Overview: Lynne and Victor Brick cut their teeth in the fitness industry through group exercise. Brick Bodies is recognized worldwide for its dynamic fitness programming and rock-star instructors, and Lynne is considered one of the leading group exercise instructors in the fitness industry. The cover story provides an overview of how the couple came to be Planet Fitness franchisees — a business model with no group classes — by sensing a window of opportunity and seizing on it.
Takeaway: According to Lynne, one of the keys to the couple’s success as club operators is their emphasis on culture and leadership development. “We believe very strongly in our corporate culture,” she said. “We do extensive trainings on how to be a great leader, how to embrace the culture and pass it on. Everyone is involved in the cultural training from every level up. It’s really important for us in terms of ensuring success.”
August 2019: Results for Life
Subject: Genesis Health Clubs
Overview: In mid-2016, Genesis Health Clubs doubled in size from 20 clubs to 40 essentially overnight — and has strategically added locations, additional markets, and new revenue streams ever since. Today, the fitness brand — which began with one location in Wichita, Kansas — has grown to 46 clubs in five states. The cover story describes the challenges of acquiring clubs and the brand’s keys to success, including creating behavior change and instilling a healthy lifestyle in its customers.
Takeaway: Steven described the importance of prioritizing onboarding to ensure long-term results for members. “Our onboarding is really important to me,” he said. “I think it’s vital to success. So we really track the usage, because we know how important the first 30, 60 days are. We have measurements and our KPIs that are important to us that we really measure in the first 30, 60 days of membership.”
July 2019: Staying Power
Overview: This year Crunch celebrated 30 years in business, an impressive feat considering the average lifespan of a business is about 10 years, according to a study by the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. The cover story provides an overview of how the brand has achieved staying power by boasting a solid foundation, being willing to pivot and evolve, and taking care of its franchisees.
Takeaways: As a key to the brand’s staying power, CEO Keith Worts shared the importance of investing in your brand. “You need to invest in your product,” he said. “I think about it as, ‘how should we spend the money,’ as opposed to ‘whether we should spend the money.’ Because we need to keep the club relevant, whether it’s a fresh coat of paint, whether it’s keeping the equipment up-to-date in the form of cardio and free weights, lighting or music systems — anything that’s going to add to the atmosphere and the ambience, and create some excitement for our members and guests.”