Todd Logan probably didn't realize the lasting impact that he was creating back in 1984 when he launched Club Industry magazine at the tender age of 30. However, over the next 25 years, that magazine has thrived and has become a fixture in the fitness industry for facility owners and operators.
Club Industry, now titled Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro magazine, is celebrating its 25th anniversary through the next year as a way to pay tribute to the industry and to the people who brought this magazine to that industry. When the magazine started in 1984 as a bi-monthly, the industry was still in its infancy. Many of the club operators were still new to owning businesses, and many of them had only recently converted from tennis and racquetball facilities to full-fledged health clubs. In fact, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) was still called the International Racquet and Sportsclub Association. National publications existed covering the country club market, the corporate fitness market and for-profit clubs, but none covered all those markets under one cover until Club Industry.
“It was exciting to create something from nothing and be a part of this industry,” Logan says. “It was such an upbeat industry. To cover it from the early years, there was a lot of buzz and excitement. We got to meet a lot of people who were entrepreneurs like ourselves and watch the industry grow and be a part of it.”
Logan didn't create this legacy on his own. Early in the process, he hired Marc Onigman to serve as associate publisher and executive editor while Logan served as publisher and editor-in-chief. The two were entrepreneurs who originally had published a regional sports participation magazine, Sportscape, before seeing that fitness equipment manufacturers were hungry to reach the burgeoning health club market through a magazine serving the whole fitness facility market.
The two attended the IHRSA trade show in the spring of 1984 to sell their magazine concept to exhibitors. They found an immediate fan in Augie Nieto of Lifecycle (now Life Fitness), who quickly bought the back cover for a full year. That sort of buy-in from a major manufacturer helped Logan and Onigman make additional sales to other manufacturers.
Logan and Onigman went on the road to meet advertisers and sent their reporters and editors into the field to interview club owners. Their combined efforts led to the magazine running profiles of all the big names in the industry at that time, including Bob Dedman of Club Corp. of America (who was on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest people in America at the time), fitness advocate Jack LaLanne, Jacki Sorensen of Aerobic Dancing, Mike Talla and Nanette Pattee Francini of Sports Club/LA, Mark Mastrov and his new concept (at the time) of a club that's open 24 hours and Joe Cirulli of Gainesville (FL) Health & Fitness Center.
Other articles showed club owners in this young business how to sell, how to hire and how to make money.
“We didn't see ourselves as just being cheerleaders for the industry,” Logan says. “We profiled the leaders in the industry. We sold it on having both editorial quality and editorial integrity. That was the perception of the publication at the time — that we had high integrity.”