Gold's Gym Franchise Wraps Up Historic International Convention in Las Vegas

GGI and GGFA Join Forces to Celebrate 45th Anniversary; Set Sights on Storied Brand's Global Growth

July 27, 2010 // Franchising.com // DALLAS – After three days of powerful and unifying events, the Gold's Gym global family heads home from a historic convention in Las Vegas. By all accounts, the company's executive leadership, franchisees, ownership group, employees and partners are as energized as ever to carry on the company's rich tradition as the world's leading authority on health and fitness.

"There's an undeniable energy and spirit enveloping the brand that everyone in attendance is carrying back home with them," said Jim Snow, president of Gold's Gym International (GGI). "As we honor our 45-year heritage, the knowledge-sharing, innovations and camaraderie all came together beautifully during the convention, and we're heading home as tight as we've been as a Gold's Gym family."

More than 1,000 Gold's Gym owners, master franchisees, corporate executives, managers, staff and vendors representing more than 700 clubs in 43 states and 28 nations gathered at the Mandalay Bay for three days and nights to share business strategy and shed light on the fitness brand's immediate and long-term future. GGI and the Gold's Gym Franchise Association (GGFA) collaborated on the convention's seminar sessions and informational forums, keying the curriculum on membership sales and marketing.

"Undoubtedly, this convention goes down as one of the most powerful in recent memory for our company. The collaborative effort among GGI and GGFA resulted in a convention which will have long-lasting benefits for our business," said Mike Epstein, president of the GGFA and owner of Gold's Gym Paramus (N.J.). "There is a positive vibe we all feel and we're committed to working together to keep our brand at the top of the industry."

The talented collection of individuals on hand benefiting from the convention's offerings included a record number of representatives from the brand's international clubs. The topic of Gold's Gym's growing global presence, now at 180-plus facilities and 200 more in the development pipeline, was pervasive throughout the convention, including Snow's "Big Picture" forum. Additionally during this session, new technology advancements and analytical tools were introduced, and Epstein discussed the organization's ongoing support programs for Gold's Gym franchisees.

At the convention's annual Awards Dinner, Gold's Gym honored more than 25 well-deserved franchisee winners. Among the most notable (a full list is available upon request):

  • Lori and Jeremy Lowell, owners of multiple Gold's Gyms throughout Wisconsin and Virginia, earned the Franchisee of the Year recognition.
  • Think Corporation, the Master Franchisee for Gold's Gym in Japan, won the Master Franchisee Award for the second straight year and for the third time in its history.
  • Blair McHaney, the owner of two top performing Gold's Gyms in central Washington, garnered the prestigious President's Award, given to the owner that most exemplifies the commitment Gold's Gym franchisees have to serving their members and their community.
  • Gordon Johnson, long time franchise owner in the Atlanta-area, won the Visionary of the Year Award for his outstanding work on behalf of the Gold's Gym brand and his fellow franchisees.

In addition, for the first time in the brand's 45 year history, Gold's Gym inducted two members into its newly created Hall of Fame. Company founder Joe Gold and Jerry McCall, a longtime influential figure in the Gold's Gym family who became a franchisee in 1981 in the San Jose, Calif. market, are the inaugural Hall of Fame honorees.

Gold's Gym also paid tribute to a select group of its gym members who have overcome some of life's most difficult obstacles to lose weight, get in shape or achieve remarkable personal gains. Those on hand voted for the annual Gold's Gym Know Your Own Strength ™ "Most Inspirational Member" award, crowning Jennifer Heideman, a member at Gold' Gym Peterborough (Ontario, Canada) with the title. Defying the odds, Heideman's success story includes surviving a childhood filled with alcohol and drug abuse, and eventually obesity as an adult and parent, to lose more than 130 pounds. Now a fit 135 pounds, she's actively competing in physique competitions.

"Everyone in the ballroom was touched," said Snow. "While we don't need to be reminded about the importance of personal health, seeing the members on stage and hearing their stories of triumph was an emotional charge that you couldn't help but feel."

Troy Hazard, renowned entrepreneurial expert and author of The Naked Entrepreneur: A Millionaire's Journey from Fear to True Wealth, delivered the convention's keynote speech. He hit on several timely business topics and offered strategic and tactical guidance for Gold's Gym owners and management to take back and implement in their own businesses.

Attendees also return to their gyms informed of several important product and service introductions announced at the convention, including:

  • The formation of the Gold's Gym Operators Cooperative (GGOC) – An exciting new vendor program designed to dramatically strengthen gym owners' businesses through large group purchases and to deliver vendors exclusive access to Gold's Gym International's network of franchisees, communication vehicles, franchisee training, and many other special events
  • Unveiling of the totally redesigned goldsgym.com. The dynamic new design will deliver a more interactive user experience for consumers and help drive more leads for each gym owner.
  • Introduction of the innovative new Gold's Gym iPhone application. This ground breaking "app" will set the standard for the industry and help consumers interact with the Gold's Gym brand in new ways.
  • Demonstrations of the exciting new Gold's Gym Dance Workout designed in partnership with Ubisoft for the Nintendo Wii

More details on these exciting initiatives will be made public in the days ahead.

About Gold's Gym

Established in Venice, Calif. in 1965, Gold's Gym is the largest full service gym chain in the world with more than 700 locations in 43 states and 28 countries. Gold's Gym offers the latest equipment and services, including group exercise, personal training, cardiovascular equipment, group cycle, Pilates and yoga. With nearly 3.5 million members worldwide, Gold's Gym helps all kinds of people achieve their individual potential through fitness.

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