Gold’s Gym International, Dallas, had to cancel its annual convention due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn’t stop the company from honoring its top franchise owners for their 2019 performance. The company held a virtual awards ceremony in which it named its Franchisee of the Year, Best New Gyms and Gold’s Vision recipients among others.
“As disappointed as we were to cancel our annual convention this year, we knew this was the best decision for the safety of our global family in light of the ongoing pandemic,” Adam Zeitsiff, president and CEO of Gold’s Gym International said in a media release. “With or without an in-person ceremony, we knew the amount of greatness we saw across our Gold’s Gym franchise network last year warranted recognition. Just as we have done to continue serving our members in recent months, we took a virtual approach to shining a spotlight on the many outstanding individuals who represented the very best of what our franchise network had to offer in 2019.”
The company named Jeff Mortman as the domestic Franchisee of the Year. Mortman took over ownership of his Gold’s Gym in Totowa, New Jersey, in 2017 and has since transformed it from a struggling location into a state-of-the-art facility with a strong membership base.
The company named Eiji Tezuka as its top franchisee. Tezuka, who has been a franchisee for 25 years and received the honor for the second consecutive year, is a master franchise owner in Japan. In 2019, Tezuka’s franchise group grew their network by nine new gyms, bringing the brand’s Japanese presence to a total of 95 facilities open and operating across the country.
The brand also named its top new gyms opened in 2019, with the brand’s latest facility in Ocala, Florida, receiving the domestic award and its new Abdoun location in Amman, Jordan, receiving the international award. The Ocala gym marks the first facility opened by new franchise owner Pete Garcia, who joined the brand in early 2019 and has plans to open more Gold’s Gym facilities across Central Florida in the coming years. The 80,000-square-foot Abdoun gym is the second Gold’s Gym opened in Amman by master franchisee Adan Abu Rukbeh and his team. The new facility, which is located in a prominent residential tower in the heart of Amman, opened in December of 2019.
The company gave its Gold’s Vision Award for 2019 to both a domestic and an international franchisee to recognize them as visionaries whose leadership qualities and achievements serve as inspiration for the rest of the global franchise network. The domestic winner of this year’s Vision award was Mike Williams of Gold’s Gym Seattle, and the international winner was JK Valecha, India’s master franchisee.
Other Gold’s Gym franchising awards presented virtually this year include the following, with domestic and international winners listed for each:
- Best Improved Gym – Hollister, California, and Janakpuri, India
- Best Group Exercise Programming – Pharr, Texas, and Lefort, Moscow, Russia
- Best Personal Training Program – Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Lefort, Moscow, Russia
- Best Community Engagement – Cheyenne, Wyoming, and JP Nagar, India
- Best Marketing Program – Bridgewater, New York, and Abdoun, Amman, Jordan
- Legacy Award – Cindy Cerone of Fishkill, New Jersey
“The first half of 2020 has been challenging, to say the least, but the way our franchisees around the world have persevered despite so much adversity is a testament to the strength of our global network as a whole,” said Craig Sherwood, chief development officer of Gold’s Gym. “Being identified as a standout performer from our impressive community of brand stewards is an incredible feat. Gold’s Gym would not be what it is today without these outstanding investors driving our growth and evolution, and we are grateful this year more than ever for their continued commitment to the Gold’s Gym brand.”