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Focus On Physical Plant

Designing a Club From The Front Door

From the point where a person first sees your club to the moment he walks out the door, he should be impressed with the experience. To help operators put together a club that blows members and prospects a-way, we enlisted the help of Rudy Fabiano of Fabiano Designs International in Montclair, N.J. Here, he walks operators through a club designed for success, from the building entrance to beyond.

Building Entry

As we all know, first impressions are lasting impressions. This is especially true in sales. If you can set visitors' expectations before they enter your facility, chances are they'll feel better about their visit. Many times we don't bring the inside out. But just as much attention should be given to the exterior approach and design language as to the interior.

* Glass is the easiest and most common method to achieve this.
* Make the entry point very clear. Use planters, canopies, glass, etc., to make the entry point a distinctive feature.
* Keep your building brightly lit at night for safety.
* Advertise the interior. Let people driving by see in.

* We anticipate more ground-up building as financing makes building ownership more feasible.
* The marketing benefits of a noticeable building will lead to more interesting and distinctive building designs.

Entry Foyer

Once inside the club, what feeling do you want the guests to experience? We call the technique of controlling a guest's experience "choreographing." This is very similar to choreographing a series of dance movements as one moves throughout a space, and it should occur at key points in the facility. You can either push the guest directly onto the gym floor, or rather, introduce a transitional zone and ease a member through a club, essentially establishing a series of welcome zones.

* Think about this area as the power point in the club (the foyer to your great room).
* This floor will take a tremendous amount of traffic and wear, so material consideration becomes very important.

* This is the second first-impression point, and these areas will get a bit more elaborate, especially with the use of materials and lighting.
* Skylights and greater use of natural light in general.
* Plants and softer entry points.

Check-In/Juice Bars

These two areas, which have been linked as a sister-and-brother team, are finally getting personalized attention. With the huge explosion of juice bar concepts, and the understanding that the reception desk is an important nerve center of the gym, these two spaces have become very individualized. Placing the juice bar along the main path to give people both a view of the gym and the entry points works toward people's natural inclination to be in the center of the action.

Considerations: Juice Bars
* Keep along main street and use large-scale signage.
* Storage for drinks and supplies.
* Equipment needed, like built-in blenders.
* Point of sale.
* ADA compliance.

Considerations: Check-In
* ADA compliance.
* Face entry if possible, and use material and decor to reflect the best of your club.
* Built-in everything.
* Place for information flyers, showcases and keys.

* There are considerations to separate these uses entirely as juice bars become more profitable and check-in systems become more professional.
* Higher-quality materials.
* Bigger and more well-placed customer service counters.

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