Two operators of Gold’s Gym are leaving the brand, including one that has had ties to Gold’s Gym since 1989.
American Club Systems, Columbus, GA, is closing a Gold’s Gym Elite club in Columbus on Thursday as it continues to build its new brand called Max Fitness, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Members of that Gold’s Gym are being asked to move their workouts either to a nearby Max Fitness, which was formerly known as Gold’s Gym Max, or to a Max Fitness Express club.
The company, which has been affiliated with Gold’s Gym International (GGI) since 1989, also is planning to open a 60,000-square-foot club in Columbus in the next 12 to 16 months, the newspaper reported. Charlie Lindsey, president of American Club Systems, told the newspaper that the company plans to franchise 200 clubs as Max Fitness within two years and already has rebranded clubs in Texas and Louisiana.
Lindsey says Gold’s is focusing more on corporate-owned clubs than franchised clubs and that the Gold’s image no longer fits American Club Systems.
“We made a decision that we were going more mainstream to the general public,” Lindsey told the newspaper. “At the end of the day, we felt like if you were to survey a hundred non-members, that they would say Gold’s Gym was kind of the tank top, dumbell-throwing type of thing. And that’s not the direction we’re going in.”
In a similar case in Boise, ID, the owners of three Gold’s Gyms there are rebranding their clubs to Axiom this month. The owners decided not to renew their franchise agreement with GGI, according to a report by Boise TV station KBOI 2.
Dave Reiseman, vice president of communications for Gold’s, says that sometimes it is necessary for a franchisor and franchisee “to move in different directions.”
“This was the case with [American Club Systems] and a few other franchisees this year,” Reiseman says. “In these instances, we mutually agreed to part ways and wish them nothing but the best. We have aggressive growth plans in place for the next few years and look forward to working with our new and existing franchisees to develop markets around the world.”
This summer, longtime Gold’s franchisee Jeff Skeen announced Titan Fitness was rebranding its clubs to Fitness Connection. Other franchisees, such as Kirk and John Galiani (Onelife Fitness) and Royce Pulliam (Urban Active) also have broken away from the Gold’s brand in recent years.
Despite the defections, Reiseman says Gold’s still is experiencing growth, both domestically and internationally.
“This includes the development of new corporate and franchise locations, as well as an influx of new franchisees from a variety of backgrounds,” Reiseman says. “GGI currently receives hundreds of applications each month from potential investors looking to become part of the Gold’s Gym family.”