Anytime Fitness CEO and co-founder Chuck Runyon was on hand Tuesday in Madrid, Spain, for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Hastings, MN-based company's 2,500th club.
Robert Jones, the counselor for commercial affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Spain, also was on hand for the ceremony, as was Rod Hill, the director of Anytime Fitness Iberia, and Anytime Fitness franchisee Alvaro Martin.
"A very small percentage of U.S.-based franchises can say that nearly one-fourth of their units are located outside of the United States," Runyon said in a statement. "It's proof that our business model is attractive to potential franchisees and consumers worldwide. In fact, 2014 will likely be the first year that we open more gyms internationally than in the U.S."
The Anytime Fitness in Madrid, which Martin owns, is the sixth Anytime Fitness to open in Spain. Martin says a seventh Spanish club is scheduled to open in the next few weeks.
The first Anytime Fitness opened 12 years ago today—May 28, 2002—in Cambridge, MN.
Anytime Fitness now has clubs in 18 countries, including a new club in Malaysia. The company expects to be in 20 countries by the end of this year.
Runyon and other members of the Anytime Fitness International Development Team flew from Madrid to London, where Runyon will be interviewed live on CNBC on Friday morning.
Also on Tuesday, Forbes.com ranked Anytime Fitness No. 5 on its list of America's Best Franchises in the mid-level, start-up cost category.