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Lifestyle Founder Returns to Club Operations

Lifestyle Founder Returns to Club Operations

As part of the changes at Lifestyle Family Fitness, which recently agreed to sell some of its clubs in Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina to Life Time Fitness, Lifestyle Founder Geoff Dyer is getting back into club operations.

Dyer, who served as Lifestyle’s CEO from 1982 until 2007, will own and operate the remaining two Columbus, OH-area clubs that did not close or were not acquired by Life Time. Dyer, a native of Melbourne, Australia, would not reveal the planned name for the clubs in East Columbus and Hilliard but says they will have an Australian theme.

“I’ve been anxious to get back into the business for the last year or two, and I’ve been looking for opportunities,” says Dyer, who remains a member of the Lifestyle board. “Lifestyle was pulling out of the market and would have needed to rebrand the clubs anyway, so it was an opportunity for me to get back involved in the fitness industry and build something new. I don’t think you ever forget how to run a club. It’s like riding a bike. You never forget it.”

Meanwhile, Lifestyle will concentrate on its remaining clubs in Florida. At the time of the announcement with Life Time, Lifestyle had 35 Florida clubs, but the St. Petersburg, FL-based company recently announced that its clubs in North Lakeland and Bradenton are closing.

“Coming on the heels of the sale of our northern markets to Life Time Fitness, I understand this is more challenging news for our organization,” Lifestyle Chairman Stuart Lasher wrote in an email to employees. “However, it is natural for companies to adjust their footprint based on changing economic and consumer conditions.”

Jason Thunstrom, vice president of public relations and corporate communications for Chanhassen, MN-based Life Time, says that as of Dec. 1, Life Time is operating a total of nine former Lifestyle clubs. Life Time acquired five of the six Lifestyle clubs in North Carolina. Thunstrom says Lifestyle is closing the remaining North Carolina club in Cary.

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