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World Gym Moves into Key-Card Club Market

DOVER, NH — World Gym has entered the world inhabited by around-the-clock club franchises such as Anytime Fitness and Snap Fitness, with a franchise model called World Gym 1440 All Axcess (1440 is for the 1,440 minutes in a day).

Current World Gym franchisees' territories might become home to some of the new models, depending on whether the territory is protected and whether the territory holder wants to open a new model, says Ben Midgley, World Gym president. He sent a letter to franchisees in October explaining the new model.

“We will always think of our existing franchisees first,” Midgley says.

The franchise fee for a World Gym access club, which will average about 3,500 square feet, is $6,500, Midgley says. The royalty schedule starts at $250 per month and can scale up to $1,000 per month, provided the club's EFT meets certain levels, Midgley adds.

“It works out to be less expensive than any other model,” he says.

The company will provide marketing support for the operating model.

“We're basically 100 percent sure we can give operators a better profit-making model than any of the other competing 24-hour or key-card models can,” he says.

The first 1440 club was scheduled to open this month, says Midgley. The company has more than 20 franchise agreements signed, and Midgley expects to have 100 access clubs open by this time next year, which would increase the number of World Gyms to more than 360.

Planet Fitness bought World Gym last year, but Midgley says the access model is not an attempt by the company to be more like Planet Fitness, a $10-per-month model. Memberships at the 1440 clubs will run about $30 per month. The access model is, however, an attempt to keep pace with the trend set by other key-card club models.

“Is the key club the model of the future? Not necessarily,” Midgley says. “But is it a model that any franchisee can take advantage of? Of course. You can make just as much or more money from the key-card club model or several of them as you could from the primary club.”

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