Gold’s Gym International (GGI) has officially joined the low-price clubs club.
The Irving, TX-based company announced the rollout of its new Gold’s Gym Express model Monday. Membership dues are expected to start at $9.99 a month, right at the $10 price point that Planet Fitness has built its model around and that other clubs are using, such as the Crunch franchise clubs, North Carolina-based ZX Fitness clubs and Equinox’s new Blink clubs ($15 a month).
Gold’s Gym Express clubs, which also offer a $19.99 upgraded membership, will be between 10,000 and 25,000 square feet, less than a typical Gold’s club. The lower cost structure, according to GGI, will allow expansion into rural and urban areas that might not otherwise support a full-amenity Gold’s Gym.
More than 20 corporate-owned and franchised Gold’s Gym Express locations are already in the planning stages. Gold’s expects to have more than 100 new Express clubs by the end of this year.
“The new Gold’s Gym Express will allow us to expand the Gold’s Gym brand in ways not possible before,” said Jim Snow, president of GGI. “It will provide Gold’s Gym International and our new and existing franchisees with another option to grow. From city centers to small towns, this concept is nimble enough to thrive in any setting, and the incredible value combined with Gold’s Gym expertise will help us attract more members than ever.”
Gold’s Gym Express clubs will include cardio and strength equipment, a circuit training area, cardio cinema, locker rooms and tanning beds.
Last year, a Gold’s Gym in Mechanicsville, VA, began offering a $9.99 membership on its website, an offer that is still advertised today. GGI says that that club was not necessarily the model for the Gold’s Gym Express clubs.
“Many factors went into the design and development of the Gold’s Gym Express concept, and no one location, group or existing format served as the final model,” according to a statement from GGI. “Our internal team of design, construction, marketing, operations and franchising experts were ultimately responsible for developing the new Gold’s Gym Express. A number of franchisees have tested a high-volume, low-cost model in the past, working with GGI under their franchise agreement. We feel like these gyms helped validate the power of the Gold’s Gym brand combined with a value concept.
“More importantly, we knew when we designed the Gold’s Gym Express internally that there was a clear demand for the product…and that our new concept would give our owners and investors a significant advantage over the competition.”
This is not the first time Gold’s has attempted to roll out a scaled-down version of its clubs. The company announced a concept club program two years ago at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) show in San Francisco, site of this week’s IHRSA show. Those concept clubs, announced by then-CEO James Weaver, never fully got off the ground.
In addition to the Gold’s Gym Express model, GGI also announced the formation of a new financing arm called Gold’s Gym Capital, created to help existing and future franchisees secure financing for both Gold’s Gym Express and full-amenity Gold’s clubs.
Chuck Lemar is joining the company as senior vice president of Gold’s Gym Capital. Lemar spent more than 10 years at Cybex International, Medway, MA, most recently as a senior vice president at Cybex and president of Cybex Capital.
“Gaining access to capital has been one of the greatest barriers to growth in our industry,” Lemar said. “Now, GGI has a concrete way to help new and existing franchisees overcome this obstacle, and I am excited to help them with the financing process. The growth opportunities under the Gold’s Gym umbrella are now endless.”