It has been a busy few weeks for Gold’s Gym International.

In addition to the due diligence discussions going on between Gold’s and Bally—according to a source with knowledge of the situation—Gold’s recently wrapped up its annual convention in Las Vegas and opened its first two Gold’s Gym Express clubs.

Gold’s held grand openings last month for express clubs in Brownsville, TX, and Victoria, TX. The clubs include the Gold’s Gym Express circuit training area, strength equipment and Cardio Cinema. Monthly dues start at $9.99, with an upgraded membership at $19.99.

The Gold’s Gym convention was held last month at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Among the highlights was the induction of Lou Ferrigno into the Gold’s Gym Hall of Fame. Ferrigno, who first gained fame in the 1977 movie “Pumping Iron,” became a TV icon as “The Incredible Hulk.”

“Gold’s Gym is my home,” Ferrigno said. “It is an emotional attachment for me. It is my gym and I am proud to be a part of this family.”

Also inducted into the Gold’s Gym Hall of Fame was longtime franchisee Blair McHaney, a Club Industry columnist, for his contributions to the brand. In addition to operating Gold’s Gyms in the Wenatchee, WA, area, McHaney served as president of the Gold’s Gym Franchisee Association (GGFA) and sat on various committees, including the Gold’s Gym national advertising and advisory committee and the national franchise council.

Gold’s honored 25 franchisees at the convention’s annual awards dinner. Among the honorees were:

  • Bryce Berry, owner of Gold’s Gyms Clifton, CO, who earned Franchisee of the Year recognition.
  • Eiji Tezuka, the master franchisee for Gold’s Gym in Japan, who won the Master Franchisee Award for the third straight year and for the fourth time in its history.
  • Gordon Johnson, longtime franchise owner in the Atlanta area, who garnered the prestigious President’s Award, given to the owner that most exemplifies the commitment Gold’s Gym franchisees have to serving their members and their community.
  • Bill Austin, longtime franchisee from the Hudson Valley, NY, area, who won the GGFA’s Bravo Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership, innovation and contributions from members within the Gold’s Gym family.

“Everyone in the Gold’s Gym family shares a deep, emotional attachment to the brand, and it is never more apparent than when we all come together to celebrate,” Jim Snow, president of Gold’s Gym International, said in a statement. “It is amazing to witness the collective knowledge and expertise that exists within the Gold’s Gym family and see how the power of the brand has transcended cultures around the world. This energy, combined with the many initiatives we’re rolling out, has us well positioned for the future.”

GGFA President Mike Epstein, who owns Gold’s Gym Paramus (NJ), added: “Last year, we walked away from the convention a tighter Gold’s Gym family, and this year we came away even closer. Any time we bring the entire Gold’s Gym family together under one roof, it really feels like a family reunion.”