The Greater Midland MI Community Center offers many classes for its members including this kickboxing class Photo courtesy of Greater Midland Community Centers

The Greater Midland (MI) Community Center offers many classes for its members, including this kickboxing class. Photo courtesy of Greater Midland Community Centers.

Greater Midland Rebrands, Acquires For-profit Club

Greater Midland Community Centers, Midland, MI, a nonprofit organization that began almost 100 years ago, is looking to the future with its latest rebranding and acquisition of a for-profit health club.

Greater Midland Community Centers, Midland, MI, a nonprofit organization that began almost 100 years ago, is looking to the future with its latest rebranding and acquisition of a for-profit health club.

Greater Midland announced last week that it is taking over operations of Smitty's Ironworks and Family Fitness in Midland and is renaming it the Greater Midland North-End Fitness Center. The ownership change occurred earlier this month. Matt Smith, the former owner of Smitty's, will be joining Greater Midland to lead the organization's personal training efforts.

The North-End Fitness Center, which will reopen Jan. 5, adds to the Greater Midland portfolio that consists of the Community Center, the North Family Center (Mills Township), the Coleman Family Center, a tennis center, a curling center, corporate wellness and nonprofit consulting.

The Greater Midland rebranding consists of a new "greater than" symbol that represents the organization's three main areas of focus: wellness, recreation and social services. Chris Tointon, CEO of Greater Midland Community Centers Inc., tells Club Industry that the organization had previously operated each of its businesses independently.

"They each had their own names, their own logos, their own marketing and their own membership," Tointon says. "What we've done with this new plan is create one brand and one reciprocal membership opportunity where you buy one membership and get them all."

Tointon did not say how much money was invested in the rebranding, but he added the organization had the support of several volunteers.

"We're really fortunate to have some quality community volunteers who have global branding expertise, so we took advantage of both the volunteers that we have as well as in-house resources," Tointon says. "From a dollar standpoint, we don't have a lot of money invested (in the rebranding). We have a lot of time and a lot of effort."

Greater Midland, which was founded in 1917, is No. 77 on Club Industry's Top 100 Clubs list with a reported 2013 revenue of $8.9 million. Tointon says the organization anticipates being close to 10,000 members after the acquisition.

"We have a great name in our community, and when people see our name on something, they recognize there's value, there's stability," Tointon says. "We've been around since 1917. That's important, especially in the fitness market today where you have places that are coming and going."

Greater Midland also runs wellness centers across the United States for the Dow Chemical Co., which is headquartered in Midland.

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