Almost 20 years after he began working as a fitness instructor at the Newtown Athletic Club, Newtown, PA, Doug Steinly has become the president and owner of the company’s new facility, the Horsham Athletic Club in Philadelphia.
Steinly rose quickly in the company. He was promoted from instructor to general manager of the Newtown club in 1995, and when the owners partnered with HealthQuest, Flemington, NJ, in 2000, he was chosen as general manager for the newly built sister facility in Hunterdon, NJ.
“He really grew that club from nothing,” says Linda Mitchell, director of marketing and public relations for Newtown Athletic Club. “He has a real ability to build and manage a family club.” His history with the company and success as a general manager made him the ideal candidate when NAC began considering a new facility, Mitchell adds.
The Horsham club is a departure from the idea of a family-friendly health club. Although it does include areas for kids and teens, the 50,000-square-foot facility, designed by Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative, Denver, under the direction of Hervey Lavoie, is geared more toward adults looking for a serious fitness environment. Mitchell says it was built after they realized a need for a facility catering to the adult fitness enthusiast demographic in the densely populated Philadelphia area. The decision also was motivated by financial factors.
“You can open a club like this easier than a 100,000-square-foot family facility,” Steinly says. Although he says it was not ideal to open the club going into summer, the facility is doing well with more than 1,000 members since opening in March.
And Steinly is adjusting to the shift from general manager to owner of a health club.
“The financial responsibility wasn’t there, but I viewed all of the clubs that I ran as my own,” Steinly says. “Now there’s more pressure to make sure that things are working.”