Success of Smaller Studios Fuels Focus on Health Club Industry's Big Picture


The words of Thomas Plummer, founder of the National Fitness Business Alliance, in our January issue provided the backdrop for our February issue story on niche clubs.

We've received some good feedback on our February issue story "Health Clubs of a Different Color" that highlights a number of niche fitness facility operators who are not only making their mark in the industry but are enjoying financial success, too.

Thomas Plummer, founder of the National Fitness Business Alliance, provided a quote in our January State of the Industry cover story that really served as a precursor to that February feature. In our State of the Industry report, Plummer discussed how some businesses are "seeking a higher return per client and starting to realize you can make a lot more money with a lot fewer clients."

"The consumer is starting to, in significant numbers, gravitate toward a results-driven environment and away from a do-it-yourself fitness environment," Plummer said. "That's going to spell bad news for some of these old-style chains."

I heard some of these same ideas first-hand last summer when Plummer held one of his two-day workshop road shows in Kansas City. Perhaps those in attendance have heeded Plummer's advice and are experiencing some success of their own this year.

The interesting question that Plummer touched on revolves around how the smaller microgyms are affecting big box clubs. Be sure to check out our March cover story as we address a similar trend: personal trainers who are leaving big box clubs to open their own smaller studios.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 27, 2013

The effect on chains and bigger clubs by the small studios is a question, but another question is also what is it that the big clubs and chains are LACKING that is drawing people to the smaller studios who often charge more but may also have more qualified instructors/trainers and specialize in customer satisfaction, success and personal contact. Often in the big gyms quest of being the low cost leader, these qualities disappear

Additionally, beyond 'small studios' one should look at things happening like stray Zumba Instructors working for Community ed, or doing their own studio or venue - and they draw huge crowds . Many of them may make per hour 5 x what they could at a gym.

Real question with the success of small studios is 'what are people after' how is the experience different.

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