The concentration of growth for the next wave of Gold’s Gyms will be in Texas and Oklahoma.
Gold’s expects to have more than 100 Express clubs by the end of this year. The first two clubs are under construction in Victoria, TX, and Brownsville, TX. Another eight Express clubs are under letter of intent or in lease in Texas and Oklahoma, all within range of Gold’s headquarters in Irving, TX.
Although Gold’s hinted late last year that it was working on a low-price model similar to Planet Fitness, the Crunch franchise clubs, ZX Fitness and Equinox’s Blink clubs, the company made it official in March.
“The new Gold’s Gym Express will allow us to expand the Gold’s Gym brand in ways not possible before,” said Jim Snow, president of GGI. “It will provide Gold’s Gym International and our new and existing franchisees with another option to grow. From city centers to small towns, this concept is nimble enough to thrive in any setting, and the incredible value combined with Gold’s Gym expertise will help us attract more members than ever.”
Membership dues for the Gold’s Gym Express clubs are expected to start at $9.99 a month and go up to $19.99 for an upgraded membership. The clubs will be between 10,000 and 25,000 square feet, smaller than a typical Gold’s club. The lower cost structure, according to GGI, will allow expansion into rural and urban areas that might not otherwise support a full-amenity Gold’s Gym.
Opening new concept clubs near company headquarters is not uncommon in the industry. The first Crunch franchise clubs last year opened on the West Coast, more specifically, in the San Francisco Bay Area, not far from the Lafayette, CA, headquarters of parent company New Evolution Ventures. Likewise, New York-based Equinox opened its first three Blink clubs in the New York City area.
In addition to the Gold’s Gym Express model, GGI also announced the formation of a new financing arm called Gold’s Gym Capital, created to help existing and future franchisees secure financing for both Gold’s Gym Express and full-amenity Gold’s clubs.
Chuck Lemar joined the company as senior vice president of Gold’s Gym Capital. Lemar spent more than 10 years at Cybex International, Medway, MA, most recently as a senior vice president at Cybex and president of Cybex Capital.
In Oklahoma City, GGI has plans to open two new clubs in addition to the two Aspen Athletic Clubs it acquired in that market. The new clubs are expected to have a soft open this spring and a grand opening in June.
“We are bullish on the Oklahoma City market and see this as the first of many moves we plan to make long term,” Snow said.
As part of the move to Oklahoma City, Gold’s has reached a partnership with Mayor Mick Cornett to join the This City Is Going on a Diet campaign to improve the city’s physical fitness levels and help the city lose a combined one million pounds.
“Our goal is to help make Oklahoma City one of the healthiest cities in the United States, and we look forward to working with residents, partners and the mayor’s office to make it happen,” Snow said.