CINCINNATI, OH — Even though he sold his nine clubs in Ohio, Joe Moore has found a home at Fitworks, the company that purchased his clubs from him in July. And the fit seems to be working for Moore and Fitworks.
Moore, who has been in the club business for more than 33 years and is on the board of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, sold his four Moore's Fitness World clubs in Cincinnati and five clubs in Dayton, OH to Fitworks, the largest health club operator in Ohio. Moore now serves as the Dayton area director for Fitworks. While the company had not been in Dayton prior to the purchase of Moore's clubs, it had planned a move into the area.
Moore's clubs in Dayton became Fitworks clubs while the locations in Cincinnati were closed and memberships were transferred to Fitworks clubs, most of which were within a mile or two of the Moore's Fitness locations, said Moore. That added up to about 20,000 member transfers in Cincinnati and about 50 cancellations of memberships after the sale, said Moore.
As friendly competitors in Cincinnati, Moore and John Janszen, COO of Fitworks, found they had similar philosophies about how to operate clubs. Over a year and a half, the two developed a mutual trust and respect until one of them mentioned the possibility of working together.
“The more we talked about the possibility of combining the two operations, the more sense it made,” said Moore. “I had a pretty big operation and by melding that with Fitworks, that makes it an extremely large operation.”
As a one-man operation with nine clubs, Moore said he wasn't eager to expand, but by working with Fitworks, he now has the support to expand and aggressively look for new acquisitions and buildings in the Dayton area.
“Joe did a great job for one guy,” said Janszen. “He did as much as one guy could do without an investor. So, we said, ‘What could he do with an investor behind him?'” Fitworks has those investors, Janszen said.
Moore also brought with him a staff — some with 20 to 30 years of club experience — that impressed Janszen. Most of the employees at Moore's Cincinnati clubs were hired by Fitworks for its Cincinnati clubs or were transferred to Dayton clubs.
“I wanted my staff to come with me,” said Moore. “They've been with me a long time, and I respect and trust them. And the Fitworks people liked their experience.” The move gives the staff an opportunity to be part of a larger organization that shares the same customer service orientation of Moore's clubs, he said.
Moore's new job feels familiar to him. “I'm still pretty much doing what I did before,” Moore said. “It's been a long transition from starting a health club business in a garage 30 years ago to now being acquired by a large fitness club.”
If Moore and Janszen have their way, that large club will grow even larger with the addition of Moore and his staff as well as other planned expansions.
“The idea is to be able to grow Fitworks as a larger regional chain and at some point maybe a national chain,” said Moore.