GAINESVILLE, FL -- Joe Cirulli, owner of Gainesville (FL) Health and Fitness Centers (GHFC), is featured on the cover of this month’s issue of Inc. magazine.

A 5,000-word feature on Cirulli and the company accompanies the cover appearance. Cirulli has read the article, which is titled “The Believer,” and says he has become good friends with the writer, Bo Burlingham, who went down to Gainesville to visit Cirulli in May.

“I spent 17 ½ hours with him—12 ½ hours one day and five another day,” Cirulli says. “And then he met with my staff. I e-mailed him back and I said, ‘Bo, I don’t think a writer has ever put a story together more factual than what you did.’ It was exactly like I told him.”

Inc. sent a photographer to shoot Cirulli about a month ago. It wasn’t until the photo shoot that Cirulli was told he was going to be on the cover. Joining Cirulli on the cover are GHFC members Rashah Davis and Amy Murad, both of whom started exercising through GHFC’s “Well Workplace” initiatives.

The article touches on Cirulli’s rags-to-riches story, from the time he was living in his car and didn’t have enough money to buy a soft drink at a fast-food restaurant to owning three health clubs and four rehabilitation centers. GHFC attracts 10,000 new members a year, has a retention rate of 77 percent and has gross revenues of $16.7 million a year, according to the article. Cirulli himself has three homes and a condo and flies his own airplane.

The heart of the article focuses on Cirulli’s ability to set goals for himself and his company, then accomplishing those goals. One of those goals was realized in 2003 when Gainesville was named the healthiest community in America. Another goal of Cirulli’s was for the company to land on the cover of a major business magazine.

Cirulli, who does several speaking engagements a year, says he’s already received requests from people who read the article, asking for advice on how to run their companies and their lives.

“I started to get e-mails from people all over America,” Cirulli says. “I responded to everybody.”