'Twas a couple nights before Christmas, and all through the office, not a creature was stirring, except for a few of us at Club Industry.
The office was technically closed for the holidays last Thursday afternoon, but with a deadline approaching for the January issue, we were still tying up some loose ends so that we wouldn't be in total panic mode after the Christmas holiday.
And then, on an otherwise forgettable Thursday afternoon, the phone rang. It was Mike Grondahl, CEO of Planet Fitness. This was nothing short of a Christmas miracle.
I had asked Planet Fitness for reaction to our story about the company's announcement to end personal training at its clubs. I received a quick response from the company, and with some other industry reactions to the decision, I had enough for a story for our Industry Observer news department. But something was missing.
Enter Grondahl, whose call was completely unexpected. He said he had a note to call me and that it takes him a few days to get back to people. We've talked on the phone before, plus we met in person a few years ago at the Planet Fitness-World Gym franchisee meeting in Las Vegas.
(As a side note, while packing up some boxes as we did some shuffling around in our office building, I found some old Planet Fitness-World Gym stationery I had from that Las Vegas meeting. This is a real collector's item, and I'm thinking about putting it up on eBay. Any bidders?)
Grondahl explained his decision, which you can read in our sneak-peek story that will be in our January issue. You can decide for yourself if you think Grondahl is the Grinch That Stole Personal Training.
I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about the decision, but when a guy like Grondahl calls you up, it's reporter's gold. There aren't many executives in the industry who shoot from the hip quite like Grondahl does. We were able to use his interview for three different stories in the issue. Without Grondahl, we had a strong issue. With Grondahl, we have a much stronger issue.