Zone Athletic Clubs Expands to Denver
On January 22, Zone Athletic Clubs opened its first location in Denver, Colorado. With the recent acquisition of TruFit Athletic Clubs in Colorado, this now totals four locations in the state: Cherry Creek, Denver, Fort Collins and Southlands.
Tim Forrest, the founder and president of Zone Athletic Clubs, has no plans of slowing down either. Below he shares his insights on his newest location and what his expansion process looks like.
Club Solutions: Why did you decide to open a location in Denver?
Tim Forrest: We made the decision to open a new location in Denver and acquire three locations — Fort Collins, Southlands and Cherry Creek — which were the former TruFit Colorado Clubs, for several reasons. Colorado has an amazing population that embraces a healthy lifestyle, and the partnership between Bruce Banker, the president of Prestige Fitness, and myself, was a good match to build multiple locations in Colorado. We want to introduce a new concept club into this market, which offers 10 studios in one location.
CS: What was the process of opening this location? How long was the project from start to end?
TF: There is an old saying that says when picking a spot for your business, it’s all about location, location and location. The Zone Athletic Club-Denver is nestled in a great location offering us a reasonable lease rate, strong demographics within a three-square mile radius, and one of the busiest intersections in Denver. Plus, with three additional locations members can get services where they work and where they live with multi-club access.
The build out of this club was about an eight-month process and we still have some final projects to complete for the club to be fully open. We made the decision to open in order to offer members a great fitness solution in January, and start to experience why Zone Athletic Clubs is truly a unique club experience that puts members first.
CS: How do you choose what locations to expand to?
TF: Site selection for a club is very challenging when you are looking to lease an existing space. Our focus is to serve members where they work and where they live, so we have plans to expand with additional clubs in Florida and Colorado at this time. Having cluster of clubs in a market enables us to maximize marketing and build a brand that can be trusted by the members.
CS: What advice can you give to other clubs considering expanding?
TF: Seek to grow and build quality clubs that keep the member in mind as a fitness consumer. Often club operators don’t plan their flow, atmosphere and experience enough to truly maximize revenue per square foot.
CS: What are best practices you have when it comes to opening a new club?
TF: Some strategies and tips to consider are:
- Do a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) for your club and for all your club competitors to understand your competition.
- Determine how you can maximize you unique selling points (USP) that enable you to create raving fans of your members in your club.
- Having a strong marketing plan is critical to launch your brand.
- Hope for the best but plan for the worse. Often construction delays, permitting delays, etc., can delay a grand opening and you have to be prepared to handle this with the membership and staff, and financially have a plan to overcome this.