Bodyplex Fitness in Milledgeville and Grayson, Georgia, understands the importance of putting members first and that by doing so, success will follow. And it puts members first in a variety of ways, whether it’s through ensuring customers feel safe and welcome at all times, engaging and serving seniors during lockdowns, or supporting other local businesses in need.
Here, owner Adam Shields shares why he prioritizes a member-centric approach, examples of ways they give back, keys to success and more.
AS: We’ve always worked diligently to put members at the forefront of our efforts to provide the best fitness experience possible each visit. The pandemic was a great opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves and reexamine what ways we can “inspect what we expect” of ourselves and our members’ health and wellness.
In a small, semi-isolated community in the middle of Georgia we’ve always viewed ourselves not only as a small business, but a leading advocate in our community for health, wellness and the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. From the outset we knew our goal was to provide the safest, cleanest environment that people could visit and find comfort and some sense of normalcy in, during a time when life was anything but.
We worked with a local HVAC expert and had 11 air purification devices installed on all of our AC systems to clean, purify and sanitize all air that is being circulated through the building. These devices are able to destroy over 99% of contaminants in the air, including COVID-19. Every hour we use hydrostatic sprayers and thoroughly sanitize high traffic areas of the club and weight areas so members can see we are equally as invested as they are in keeping the environment safe for all. We bought hundreds of spray bottles and since last April have provided each member their own disinfectant bottle, which they can take through the club to clean and sanitize any and all equipment before and after each use.
Something we found to be critically important to us was to be as transparent as we could with our members about our efforts, goals and expectations of how we could all navigate maintaining their health and safety during this time. At a time with so much uncertainty, we focused our efforts on communicating clearly and concisely with members to maintain that sense of connectedness that would provide the confidence in returning to the gym.
AS: Bodyplex Fitness provided daily at-home workouts by our training staff as well as virtual options to seniors so they could continue to maintain their health and well-being goals outside the four walls of the club. At our club we have a robust senior program. During the pandemic, we realized we needed to make exercise accessible so that they could continue their mobility, strength and overall health goals at their convenience. While we were shut down, we immediately began broadcasting senior classes virtually so they could still workout and exercise from anywhere, at any time. We distributed bands, balls and weights within a month to over 200 seniors, and within two weeks had virtual classes with attendances of over 75 to 80 seniors at a time. It took considerable time and a lot of phone calls/Facetime sessions to teach a lot of them how to use computers and iPads. It was nothing short of inspiring to see how many wanted to continue experiencing that sense of community while achieving their health goals, even in their advanced age from home.
AS: I’ve always subscribed myself to the belief there is never a bad time to do the right thing. As the new year approached we felt strongly we needed to focus more effort on giving back to our community outside of our four walls. We’ve worked in the past with multiple non-profit groups, and the pandemic had a devastating effect on many of those organizations as they were not able to fundraise or operate normally like so many of us. Beginning this year we have started supporting a new local non-profit each quarter with monetary and goods donations to try to bring awareness and support to the great work they do for our community. This year we’ve worked with a local animal rescue foundation by asking for donations from members, which we matched. In addition, through “food drive” events at the club, we were able to raise hundreds of dollars and donate over a 1,000 pounds of food. When everyone gives a little, we can all do a lot, and being able to help our local community where it needs it most is satisfying for our members and staff alike.
As a small business, we understand the need and importance of a referral and opportunity to communicate and engage with our community. Many members like ourselves are small business owners who were likewise doing whatever they could to navigate, survive and hopefully once again thrive through this pandemic. We made a conscious decision to spotlight a local small business that is member-owned and locally operated through social media and in-club each week. We inform the rest of our member base about what they do, what services they offer and how to get in touch. Helping bring awareness to other small businesses that are working hard and also value their health was important to us and doesn’t cost us anything other than a little effort to get to know our members.
AS: The byproduct of putting our members first has not only kept Bodyplex Fitness in business since 2008, but has also been a differentiator that’s kept us thriving for well over a decade. Like most people’s fitness journeys, we view our business as being a continual “work in progress.” Consistent reinvestment in the facility, the equipment and the experience we can provide has shown that we too know the work is never done in putting your best foot forward day in and day out. Finding new ways to engage with members regarding their health and well-being has always won out as our best strategy, versus finding the perfect marketing plan or promotion to win over potential new members.
AS: In an industry dominated by franchise models which are very successful, we’ve considered our work to always be hand-crafted specifically to meet the needs of our local community. For many of our members this is their first time ever working out or taking charge of their health and we do everything we can to provide the support, encouragement and motivation to find success in their health and wellness journeys. Educating and engaging with our members about why their health matters, as well as the many physical, mental, and emotional benefits of exercise has always been at the core of how we attempt to positively impact our community, and a great business has been part of the result.
AS: A quote I’ve had to remind myself and others of over the last year often may be some of the best advice I could offer in both business and health: “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
Created in partnership with ABC Fitness Solutions. Visit abcfitness.com for more information on how they can help your fitness business.