Thursday, October 30, 2008
All that glitters...
Like that old song lyric: "Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge."
UPDATE: Saturday, February 21, 2009 (Yikes) 'Comments' are the best!
And so it continues to go (but not for long)
UPDATE: Thursday November 13, 2009
I have been running a fitness center for 27 years and only been blogging since 3/17/07; and never have I gone back to a two-week old post to add an update (a day or two maybe, but never this long)
My sitemeter tells me I’m getting almost a dozen visitors a day to this particular post because you did an internet search for “leading edge fitness Amherst” or “Golds becomes the leading edge” or something similar.
And that only further proves my point! The local boys who originally founded Golds five years ago were supposed to be so hip, so cool, so cutting edge (maybe that’s where the new name comes from) using the Net, Facebook, email interaction with customers, etc.
But this name changed occurred so suddenly nobody thought ahead to take out a domain name under “the leading edge Amherst” and fill it with content so that when you did your search they would come up number one rather than my humble critique?
Original post: 10/30/08
Changing your name from the gold standard of health club franchises (not that there are all that many in the industry, as about 85% of fitness facilities are Mom-and-Pops) “Golds Gym” to “The Leading Edge” is kind of like that McDonalds in Hadley changing its name to “Billy Bob’s Burgers”.
And, of course, it has nothing whatsoever to do with paying the annual 5% of gross revenues franchise fee. Even at “only” 1,500 members paying $40/month that still amounts to a yearly overhead of $36,000.
When Golds first opened five years ago they revealed an astonishing target of 3,000 members. I say astonishing because if you added up the entire membership of established Health Clubs this side of the river (Hampshire Fitness, Kidsports, Ultimate Fitness and
Amherst Athletic Club) it would not total much more than 3,000.
But considering “Video To Go” located adjacent to Golds and about four or five times smaller in square footage was paying $5,000 per month rent (so you can imagine what Golds is now paying), they really do need that many members to break even.
And yeah, after Golds opened Kidsports and Ultimate Fitness closed--but the owners of Hampshire Fitness sold out to Perry Messer, owner of the oldest club in the Valley ‘Northampton Athletic Club’, and about as experienced a pro as you can get.
A recent Gazette article revealed that membership of both Perry’s clubs now number “about 3,500”. So the largest, oldest two clubs in the Valley combined barely exceed what Golds—I mean ‘The Leading Edge’-- all by itself needs to survive.
In an email to employees they herald “opening a second club in Greenfield soon!” Interestingly ‘Video To Go' moved to Greenfield (to escape the high Amherst rent and cutthroat competition from Blockbuster Video) and lasted less than a year.
And since the conditions placed on Newmarket Center in 1985 calls for sign review/approval by the Planning Board, you gotta wonder if the sign changes were recently approved.
One woman's experience
Previous post on the death of Ultimate Fitness