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Gold's Gym Thinks Small with Concept Clubs

Irving, TX — Gold's Gym International is about to enter the small-box club market with a new concept club program that CEO James Weaver announced at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association Convention and Trade Show last month in San Francisco.

The concept clubs will be 8,000-square-foot and 12,000-square-foot facilities designed to include custom add-ons targeted toward the club's demographic market.

The company also has made changes in its corporate structure since Weaver took over as CEO last fall. Certain positions were eliminated to flatten the company's structure, but a Gold's spokesperson says the position cuts were not large-scale and were not related to the economy.

Weaver says the new concept gyms will make it easier for franchisees to enter the market. The modular clubs were designed to be put together for a lower capital investment, he says, and can be enhanced with pre-packaged, pre-negotiated add-ons. These add-ons include small cardio cinemas, cycling, tanning and juice bars.

Joel Tallman, Gold's vice president of operations and franchising, says discussions for 40 new concept clubs already are underway.

“We truly are a different company than we were 120 days ago (when Weaver took over as CEO),” Tallman says. “We've had a lot of change in attitude and direction. With the concept gyms, we'll expand our reach.”

Tallman also says that a low-budget, low-staff business model may be applicable for the new concept clubs, depending on the market.

Weaver announced an aggressive earnings forecast for the company in 2009, including plans to double its total number of gyms. He says Gold's reached 104 percent of its earnings projections for February 2009.

“Our goal is to leverage our strengths to grow our presence in the fitness community,” Weaver says.

To read more of Weaver's outlook for Gold's, go to the Executive Insights column on page 30.

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