Donald Trump seems to pop up everywhere these days. It used to be you would only see the guy on "The Apprentice" one night per week. Now, you can't watch a news program or late night talk show, read a newspaper or log into Facebook without seeing his face. Whether you like his omnipresence or don't like it depends on how you feel about the presidential candidate and longtime businessman.
Imagine my surprise when I was sorting through old print issues of Club Industry, deep in thought about the fitness industry and our past coverage of it, and saw The Donald's face staring back at me from the cover of our May 1996 issue. I think I actually gasped at the sight.
I was not blessed to be part of the Club Industry staff in 1996 (I was still a "baby" in the media world and covering a whole different industry at that time), so even though I'd looked through old issues several times before, this was the first time I remember noticing Trump on our cover. After my gasp, I took a second look just to be sure it was him. Yep. There he was, 20 years younger but still with his signature comb-over hairstyle (albeit darker in color).
The headline read: "A Day at the Spa: What Do Donald Trump and Gerald Katzoff Know about the Spa Business That You Should Know?"
Of course I wanted to know what The Donald knew about the spa business that I should know, so I eagerly turned to page 23 for a sidebar called "Follow the Leader," featuring Trump and Katzoff. (Sorry, our online archive of stories doesn't reach back that far, so I can't link to the sidebar.)
The article talked about Trump investing in spas at a number of his properties, specifically the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump spent $3 million to add a spa and hired Katzoff and his wife Lee, owners of The Greenhouse spa in Arlington, Texas, to develop and manage it.
Although I was disappointed that Trump didn't use the word "huuuge" to describe the potential of this new spa (which at the time was branded as The Greenhouse but now is called the Trump Spa), he did display his penchant for marketing everything he touches as unparalleled in size or quality.
"The Greenhouse at Mar-a-Lago is a luxurious amenity for our members," he told Club Industry in 1996. "If run properly, it should make money. But its greatest value is in the way it contributes to Mar-a-Lago's reputation as a world-class club that is unsurpassed in excellence."
"It should make money." Uncharacteristically unbombastic for Trump.
"A world-class club that is unsurpassed in excellence." Ah, there he is. Even back in 1996 Trump was a man who had confidence that whatever he touched would be the best ever.
So what were the words of spa wisdom from Trump teased at in the cover headline? It was that spa services can enhance the value of any property. Hmmm. Did I not know that already? Did you not know that already? Is my disappointment in that "gem" because I am looking at a 1996 statement through the eyes of 2016? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it's that our headline was as full of hyperbole as Trump often is accused of being — and as I was admittedly in the headline for this very blog. Sorry. I blame it on the Trump effect.