Blink Fitness, New York, and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green have entered a franchise development deal to bring at least 20 Blink locations to Michigan and Illinois, the company announced. The deal moves Blink Fitness into the Midwest for the first time, and it is the first time that Green, who is an NBA All Star, Olympic Gold Medalist and Defensive Player of the Year, has invested in a gym brand.
Green had a pre-existing relationship with Equinox Fitness Executive Chairman and Managing Partner Harvey Spevak, in which Green would stop into Spevak’s office when he was in New York to talk, according to an article in USA Today. Equinox and Blink are owned by Equinox Holdings.
“The deeper those conversations went, we would start to talk about business venture and things of that sort, and one thing he brought up was Blink.” Green said in the article.
Eventually, Green’s business partner, Relevent Sports CEO Danny Sillman, made him aware that Blink was franchising.
Green began his fitness journey at a young age, spending hours at the local rec center in his hometown of Saginaw, Michigan, according to a media release.
His top priority is to bring more gyms to downtown Detroit, which would also help his hometown, he said in the article.
“I think about where I grew up and the people I grew up with,” Green said in the release. “We didn’t have anything like Blink. Everyone wants a cool place to get fit and work out, but lots of communities don’t have any options. The places are either terrible or too expensive. We’re going to change that. This is not an endorsement deal for me. I’m going to invest my money and my time to partner with Blink to bring an amazing gym experience to these communities.”
The development agreements are signed with Green and Tom Shumaker, an experienced finance professional, to bring Blink’s affordable, inclusive, high-quality fitness concept to their home state.
“Draymond and I both have the passion, drive and desire to win – and love putting in the work to get there. We are both ecstatic to be early franchise adopters of the Blink brand. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such a resilient, energetic and confident business partner with whom to tackle this new venture,” added Shumaker.
Although no locations have been formally announced, Green and Shumaker have been evaluating Detroit and its surrounding suburbs, Grand Rapids, Lansing and Ann Arbor as well as parts of the Chicagoland region.
This agreement is the latest in several deals that are expanding Blink Fitness out of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In early 2017, Blink announced it would open its first locations in California. One club has opened so far in the state, and two others are opening soon, according to Blink’s website. In September 2017, Blink announced it would open clubs in Boston and Virginia later this year. And earlier this month, the company announced a deal to open clubs in the Atlanta area.
“This deal is extremely significant to Blink’s national expansion because it represents a stronghold in the Midwest, adding to our East and West Coast footprint,” Blink Fitness President Todd Magazine said in the release about the deal with Green.
Since launching the brand in 2011, Blink has opened nearly 70 company-owned locations serving over 350,000 members throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California. The company also has more than 40 additional gyms, both corporate and franchisee-owned, under contract in various U.S. markets.
According to Magazine, Blink will have approximately 90 locations open and operating by the end of the year. He also expects Blink to surpass the 300-unit mark over the next five years.