I've got to be honest: The official announcement about the Planet Fitness deal with TSG Consumer Partners has put me in a melancholy mood.
I'm not down about the deal itself. It's great for Planet Fitness and great for the industry. But with Chris Rondeau stepping up to become CEO of the company, it means we likely won't see any more public statements from former Planet Fitness CEO Mike Grondahl, who remains on the company's board.
Not being able to quote Grondahl is a sad outcome for this reporter and should be sad for all reporters in general. I mean, who else could deliver a line such as "Who'd a thunk it?" in a company press release? Or how about the line that came in a letter to Planet Fitness franchisees about the company's decision to end personal training? Grondahl claimed that most people doing personal training are "just renting friends."
"For us to be selling personal training is a fraud and downright condescending to anyone who can breathe," Grondahl wrote.
At least Grondahl didn't mince words. Grondahl even admitted to me one time that he's "not the most politically correct guy."
So I'm going to miss Grondahl and those one-liners. And I'm going to miss John Craig, who handled public relations for Planet Fitness and now has moved out of the corporate office. Craig, a former newspaper scribe like me, remains with Planet Fitness as a franchisee.
In addition to Craig, a lot of my PR peeps have been on the move of late. I just learned that KJ Greenwood, formerly with Life Time Fitness and my favorite marathoner, left to become director of publicity for a small events-based public relations agency called Smack! Media. J Travis, who for 10 years was the vice president of communications for New York Health and Racquet Club, left last year and is now living and working in Hong Kong, of all places. Kelsey Kyro stays in New York after her move from Crunch public relations to SoulCycle, which we'll be featuring in a story in next month's issue. Mary Suhr Smith, who had been handling PR for Nautilus through Med-Fit Systems, left the industry after 25 years and is now working for a contracting organization.
These public relations people have been great to me and to Club Industry over the years, and I wish them all well. And that goes for Mike Grondahl, who if he's so inclined, is welcome to drop me a line anytime.