ST. PAUL, Minn. , Feb. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Anytime Fitness, the #1 co-ed fitness club chain in the world, has opened its 1,000th club. Founded in 2002, Anytime Fitness now has clubs operating in 46 states, Canada and Australia , serving nearly 600,000 members.
While other well-known fitness chains have recently scaled back their expansion plans or filed for bankruptcy, Anytime Fitness continues to grow at an impressive rate. In fact, in the past two months alone, Anytime Fitness has opened nearly 90 new clubs.
"In two or three years we'll have at least 2,500 clubs open in the U.S. and we'll have another 750 clubs open internationally," says Anytime Fitness CEO, Jeff Klinger . "Right now, we see incredible opportunities for international growth."
Before the end of 2009, Klinger predicts Anytime Fitness will have more than 30 clubs located in Canada and will open its first clubs in Italy and India . Additional international expansion plans include several European countries, the Middle East and Asia .
Why has Anytime Fitness flourished while other health clubs struggle? The key has been simultaneously keeping members and franchisees satisfied.
"From the very beginning, we've focused on providing members with a convenient and affordable fitness option in a friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere," says Anytime Fitness co-founder, Chuck Runyon . "At the same time, we've worked hard to provide our franchisees with a business model that allows them the freedom to enjoy their personal lives. Now that we have more than 1,000 clubs -- and a policy that allows members to join one club and use them all -- the value of an Anytime Fitness membership is even greater."
Despite the current economic climate and bucking the trend in the fitness industry, the average membership growth for Anytime Fitness clubs open at least one year is 8.3 percent -- 625 members at the end of 2007 vs. 677 at the end of 2008. What's more, Anytime Fitness clubs that opened in 2008 are gaining new members at a faster rate than Anytime Fitness clubs opened prior to 2008. On their respective one year anniversaries, Anytime Fitness clubs opened prior to 2008 averaged 538 members. Clubs opened in 2008, however, averaged 597 members 12 months after opening.
While members appreciate the 24-hour access of Anytime Fitness clubs, and monthly dues that are typically about half of what bigger clubs charge, franchisees report an impressive satisfaction level with their decision to own an Anytime Fitness club.
For the fourth year in a row, Franchise Business Review recently honored Anytime Fitness with its top rating and an FBR 50 Franchisee Satisfaction Award. In fact, more than 56 percent of Anytime Fitness franchisees own at least two franchise territories.
Another reason why Anytime Fitness clubs have proven to be recession-resilient is that they are frequently located in smaller, less- densely populated areas where they are often the first and only fitness option for local residents.
"People are willing to sacrifice many things when times are tough," says Runyon. "But their health is not one of them. Our members recognize that Anytime Fitness provides them with good value for their money."
One thousand clubs open worldwide is more than an impressive milestone. It also provides a tangible benefit to all Anytime Fitness members.
"We call it our 'Anywhere Club Access' policy," says Klinger. "It simply means, one membership allows access to every club, whether it's across town or on the other side of the globe. In addition to being open 24 hours, Anywhere Club Access is another way we offer convenience to our members."
To celebrate the opening of its 1,000th club, Anytime Fitness is offering special deals for new membership at all participating clubs the week of February 9th-15th . Among the deals being offered are reduced enrollment fees, free tanning and personal training sessions and one month free with a 12-month membership.