Behind the Scenes
Lift Brands Gives Snap Fitness Founder an Added Boost

Lift Brands Gives Snap Fitness Founder an Added Boost

Peter Taunton, who founded Snap Fitness in 2003, has created a parent company for Snap Fitness and his other fitness brands called Lift Brands. (Photo courtesy of Snap Fitness.)

Apparently, it's Peter Taunton's world, and we're all just living in it.

This week, Taunton unveiled his latest company venture with the announcement of Lift Brands, which will now be the parent company of Snap Fitness and Taunton's other brands— 9Round, Kosama, Steele 365 and Fitness on Demand.

I talked to Taunton back in December when he first announced that he was about to name a new private equity investor. I talked to him again last month when he announced Snap's new private equity firm is TZP Partners II.

So with this latest announcement (and after mentioning Taunton and his relationship with fellow Minnesota companies Anytime Fitness and Life Time Fitness in a recent post), I didn't think there was much left in the notebook to pull for this latest story. Boy, was I wrong.

Looking back at our December interview, Taunton had plenty to say about the diversity of his company.

"Across our brands, we open 20 to 25 new stores every month, which is staggering," Taunton told me. "That says a lot of things. That says that there's a lot of people out there that say, 'You know what? I want to be my own boss, and I want to be my own boss in the health and wellness space.' And we applaud them at that decision. Fortunately for us, we've got a lot of diversity across all the different brands that we have, and we have financing available across every one of those brands. We make the transition of becoming a business owner in this space very easy for you."

More brands are in the works for Lift Brands, too. Taunton recently told me he plans to launch his next brand in June.

"We're excited about the direction and the vision that we have within our company," Taunton says. "I think when you look at us five years from now, we're going to be even more secure in the global market. We've got a lot of interest in other parts of the world, not only within the Snap Fitness brand but within all the brands that fit within our umbrella. This is a very strategic, well-thought-out plan of our growth and penetration around the world."

The excitement and enthusiasm Taunton has for his company and the fitness industry oozes out through the earpiece in my phone. You ask him one question, and he'll give you answers for five more.

"Every time that we open a store, there's a new class of people that become members and become more health-aware, and that helps everyone in the fitness industry," Taunton says. "When people are successful in their endeavor to lose weight or feel better about themselves, they tell people, they share those stories with others, and that's inspiring. And when people get inspired, good things happen, for all of us in the industry."

With all the growth for Snap Fitness and the other brands, you might think Taunton is in a hurry to get things done, as Alabama once sang, rushing and rushing until life's no fun. Think again.

"It's not a race for us," Taunton says. "We don't run our company looking in the rearview mirror. We just do what we do, and I would imagine that everyone does that.

"We try to be pioneers. We try to be a catalyst in the fitness space. Every time someone in our health and wellness space does something positive or gets positive press, that benefits all of us."

Fun fact about Taunton: He played professional racquetball for eight years and was once ranked second nationally, partnering with his twin brother, Paul. (No, there's no Mary in the family—I checked.) Paul Taunton is a success in his own right, running a Minnesota-based branding company for printing and uniforms.

Peter Taunton, who just turned 52 earlier this month (which would mean Paul Taunton also turned 52 earlier this month), got into the industry at a young age and intends to stay here a while longer.

"I've been in the industry 31 years," Taunton says. "It's a great industry, and I'm very thankful that I've had a front-row seat for 31 years."

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