Re: March 2003, “How To” Advice On Opening a Club

Dear Club Industry,

Your “how to” article on opening a club was great (Club Mania: A Guidebook to Success, March 2003). Too many people in this industry (especially those who sell products or services) try to soft-pedal the difficulties of opening a first or second club. A club owner who has spent the time to understand what all the pitfalls might be and develop strategies to meet those challenges is the club owner who will be successful. During the last 12 years our company has provided equipment financing for more than 1,000 start-up fitness centers, and we have seen many unprepared club owners who pay the price with bankruptcy 12 to 24 months after they open. We need more information like your article that will be honest with club owners so they make informed decisions that lead to their success.
Thanks, Joe Schmitz
President F.I.T. Leasing

Thanks for the kind words, Joe. We at Club Industry, including the author of that story, Senior Editor Pamela Kufahl, appreciate the difficulty in running a fitness facility and will continue to bring as much information as possible to club owners. Hopefully, this will help individual businesses and the industry as a whole continue to prosper.

To the editor:

Bravo! I was glad to see that the cover story of your April 2003 issue was a look at clubs making a difference in the inner city (Bringing Fitness to the Inner Core). However, I was disappointed to see that there was no mention of the YMCA who has made it their mission to serve all regardless of race, religion or economic status. In a way, though, it was good to see that you can't compare YMCAs to the majority of “clubs” as a club makes one think of exclusive privilege instead of the YMCA's inclusive policy.

It is great that clubs are stepping up to serve those in the community who are disadvantaged but give credit where it is due. When you talk about serving the community you can't beat the “Y!”
Jason Anderson
Murfreesboro, TN

Jason,
It may be true that for serving the community you can't beat the “Y,” but serving the community may not be about beating anyone. We believe that there is room for profit and non-profit facilities to help bring fitness and wellness to all segments of America. We focused on only two facilities that are doing a great job, but we are sure that there are many more out there from the public and private sector that are doing the same. And in the end, if all facilities work toward bringing fitness to the masses, everyone wins
.