He saunters into a jam-packed convention hall, gospel music blaring in the background, his robe draped from his shoulders. Brother Beusman is in the house, and he's about to preach from the Bible of Fitness Business. His congregation leans forward en masse, awaiting his next word with bated breath.
It's the early 1980s, and the entire industry is still in its nascent stages. That's why club operators have come to this International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) convention to hear from the prophet of profits himself, like Moses down from the mountain, offering his Ten Commandments.
The congregation grows quieter. Then, the Rev. Curt Beusman utters his First Commandment:
“Thou shalt know all thy customers and their total spending at thy club, yea, even better than thou knowest thine own wife's charge accounts.”
That's the essence of Curt Beusman. He's a character. A showman. A storyteller. A businessman. A very successful businessman, mind you. And one of the most influential club owners this industry has ever known.
Beusman, founder of the Saw Mill Club in Mount Kisco, NY, is this year's recipient of Club Industry's Lifetime Achievement Award, which he will receive at the Club Industry Conference and Trade Show on Oct. 7 at McCormick Place in Chicago. His feats in this industry are merely a fraction of what he has accomplished in his life. You might even say Beusman is the Renaissance man of the club industry.
“He's one of the brightest people you'll ever meet,” says Rick Caro, president of Management Vision, New York, who received Club Industry's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. “He's one of the funniest people, too.”