Planet Fitness, Newington, New Hampshire, is expanding to the Dominican Republic.
The expansion was announced by the company on Thursday and marks its second international expansion. Planet Fitness' first international expansion was in Canada, where it opened a location in Toronto in October 2014 and a second in Brampton in 2015. The company also has locations in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
The new 22,000-square-foot club in the Dominican Republic will be located at Silver Sun Gallery Mall in Santo Domingo and is scheduled to open in mid-November. A second Santo Domingo club is planned to open in late 2016, according to the company.
"We are excited to bring the Planet Fitness experience to the Santo Domingo community with the opening of our first club in the Dominican Republic," Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau said in a statement. "This international expansion is a testament to our strategy of capitalizing on new market opportunities where we believe that our innovative health club concept will be well-received in addition to continuing to build out existing markets. Working with our experienced franchise partners, we look forward to building on the success we have achieved in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada and providing a judgment-free, high-quality fitness experience that is affordable for everyone."
The new Santo Domingo location is owned and operated by franchisees Rick and Kim Sciacca and partner Glenn Dowler. The Sciaccas brought the Planet Fitness brand into Puerto Rico in 2011 where they operate eight locations.
"We're thrilled to bring the Planet Fitness concept to the Dominican Republic and fill the need in the market for a high-quality and affordable fitness experience," Rick Sciacca said. "With eight thriving clubs in Puerto Rico, we believe Planet Fitness will be well-received by those in the community looking for a welcoming and non-intimidating fitness environment."
Following Planet Fitness' initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, Rondeau told Club Industry the timeline for international expansion beyond Canada was "a couple of years out." He did not outline specific plans but hinted at Mexico for possible international expansion.
"If you look at Mexico, for example, it beat out the U.S. last year as the most obese country in the world – the first time that's ever happened," Rondeau said. "I think our concept has legs in many other places."
Planet Fitness raised $216 million in its IPO. Its share price opened Thursday at $16.78, up 15.7 percent from its IPO price of $14.50 on Aug. 6.
On Sept. 17, Planet Fitness appointed Carlson Hospitality Group CEO David Berg to its board of directors. Berg currently leads the Carlson corporate center and its global hotel business.
"David has a long and distinguished track record leading many prominent and respected companies, and we are thrilled he has joined Planet Fitness' Board of Directors," Rondeau said in a statement. "With his franchising and international expertise, and experience helping companies drive long-term growth, David will be a tremendous asset to Planet Fitness as we embark on our next chapter as a publicly traded company and continue our strategic expansion."
Berg is a current member of the board of directors for the Miller Retailing Center at the University of Florida and The Rezidor Hotel Group. Prior to working at Carlson Hospitality Group, Berg was CEO and chief customer service officer for Z Wireless, a reseller of Verizon services. He also served as executive vice president of Outback Steakhouse International, overseeing more than 200 restaurants in 20 countries. He has also served as chief operating officer of GNC and executive vice president and chief operating officer of Best Buy International.