Welcome back to our gym owner business profile. In each profile, we interview successful gym owners to learn what it takes to start, run, and own a health club. Everyone tells a new and interesting story. We hope you find their experiences as inspiring as we have!
300 Fitness Gym and Bar
The idea of 300 Fitness Gym and Bar began like many other health clubs: Two guys who enjoyed exercising together saw an opportunity and jumped on it.
In the small city of Pontotoc, Mississippi, there were plenty of other gyms. Four, in fact, serving a population of no more than 8,000 residents. But most of the clubs were just a little, let’s say, library-like. Too quiet, too staid, not enough going on.
As entrepreneurs, Ron Bramlett and Wesley Bray knew they could build a better gym. So, when a local building went up for sale and the business inside into foreclosure, they moved quickly.
The site had been a 1960s-era Ford dealership. Its bones were good, as we say today, with an impressive overhanging entryway, strong mid-century vibes, and a massive interior roominess accommodating just about any build-out.
The previous gym owner had never seriously renovated the interior. Or cleaned it. Or even manned the front desk often enough to sell any customers who did visit. It was not a recipe for success.
What changes did they make to the club?
- Refurbished existing gym — Added new flooring and columns, tore out old trim, updated interior, painted outside, reupholstered existing equipment.
- Offered new services — Created a loaded tea and smoothie bar using handcrafted recipes. Began selling line of custom-designed supplements and offering members healthy pre-made meals.
- Zeroed in on an underserved market — Built out a group exercise classroom and devoted 1,500 square feet to a women’s-only gym area along with a tanning bed.
- Focused on atmosphere — Louder music, plenty of space for heavy weights, interesting interior design touches, grunting encouraged.
What makes them successful today?
The two owners opened their 12,000-square-foot facility in December of 2019. Just four months before an international pandemic shut down our world. The ride was not fun, Bray admits, but most of their members stuck with them, a gesture for which they are forever grateful.
Yet, they believe the most important part of their success has been hiring the right manager. Heather is a former member whose energy, enthusiasm, and personality just sold them. Her strong hand in running the facility, promoting it through social media, and personable customer service leaves the gym in good hands.
Their back office, as well, is supported by Gym Insight software. Heather can rely on the software’s auto text messaging service to notify members immediately if a credit card is expired or declined, which simplifies collections. As well, the keycard door access system turns 300 Fitness into a 24/7 facility for members, while Gym Insight’s intuitive software design allows for simple, timesaving navigation.
Oh, and the facility is cleaned twice a day.
What advice would they give a new gym owner?
Don’t dive in too deep. In other words, spend money carefully. For Bramlett and Bray, that meant buying out an existing gym and searching out additional well-made used equipment. They also understood their exit plan. Not every venture succeeds. If this gym went belly-up, they could sell the building and its contents without losing too much in the gamble. Although every gym owner’s vision is different, they believe buying used or refurbished gym equipment is a better move when starting out. If your health club fails, the last thing you want is to have invested $600,000 in gym equipment now worth half that amount. It’s just a good offense in a challenging, and expensive, industry.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our client profile. Call us today at 1-855-FOR-GYMS to learn how our easy-to-use, affordable gym management software can change your facility for the better. Ask for Anthony, our sales specialist and host of the “Gym Owner’s Podcast.”