MOSCOW -- Ten years ago, when Paul Kuebler, Jake Weinstock and Vladimir Grumlik got together to open Gold's Gym Moscow, things in Russia were a little different.
"At the time, the concept of fitness was completely different than in the U.S," says Paul Kuebler, part-owner of Gold's Gym Russia. "Most weight training and exercise surrounded sport, which was a big part of Soviet Russia. The concept of working out to feel good or look better was mostly a foreign one."
Over time, that has changed. Thousands of members now flock to the facility, which is a converted sports complex originally used to train the Young Pioneers (a Communist group for young people) in the Soviet days. With a basketball court, a swimming pool, group exercise classes and the latest equipment, the gym is busy seven days a week.
"In many ways, we had to create the Gold's Gym brand from scratch here in Russia," says Jake Weinstock. "There was some recognition of Gold's Gym through old fitness magazines and the movies, but we really had to tell the Gold's Gym story and show people what we're all about. We've been amazed by how well Moscow has embraced Gold's Gym."
Gold's Gym Moscow recently threw a giant anniversary bash to celebrate. More than 1,000 members and employees attended.
"What Paul, Jake and Vladimir have accomplished is amazing," says Keith Albright, senior vice president of franchising for Goldâ€™s Gym International. "They adapted the Gold's Gym brand to the Russian market and made it a celebrity. In many ways, their success 10 years ago validated Gold's Gym as an international player and set the stage for explosive growth for the brand. We offer them our deepest congratulations."