Since its inception in 1999, Workout Anytime has grown to more than 140 units in 19 states, providing a low-cost, convenient place for members to achieve their health and fitness goals. During this period of impressive growth, the brand has never lost sight of its core values and commitment to supporting the local community.
Each year, the corporate team creates several community-centered campaigns that are executed across the system. The team also supports and encourages franchise owners to develop regular events and partnerships in their areas to not only get the word out about their Workout Anytime location but also to show leadership as a business owner and community resident.
“We place a premium on local involvement with our franchise partners. It’s what we believe separates us from many of our competitors. At the HQ level, we provide the marketing programs, training/education, and other business systems, and look to our franchise-partners to be local pillars in their community,” said Mark de Gorter, chief operating officer of Workout Anytime. “Unlike many other franchise brands that sell much larger territories, we believe local ownership provides that special interest in the lives of the members, providing a ‘Cheers-like’ environment that keeps members coming back—because they are getting results, and because they feel like the ownership really cares about them as individuals, and their progress.”
By selling smaller territories than others in the segment and providing the blueprints for a variety of programs and events that offer benefits to the local community, Workout Anytime franchise owners are set up from the start to be engaged with local residents.
“We encourage our franchise owners to host several community events that facilitate partnerships with local business organizations, high schools, nonprofits and other prominent figures in the area,” added de Gorter. “By getting to know the local businesspeople and community leaders, our franchise-partners become real contributors to the local community, offering a first-class health facility to help residents live more active, healthy lives.”
One major campaign that Workout Anytime focuses on throughout the year is the Lift for the 22 partnership. Lift for the 22 founder Carter Davis suffered from identity loss and depression after leaving the military in 2013. To avoid becoming one of the 22 veterans that was reported to commit suicide daily, Davis used exercise as a coping tool and immediately realized the benefits, leading him to found Lift for the 22 to help other veterans cope in the transition back into civilian life. Workout Anytime partnered with Lift for the 22 in 2015, and now gives away 22 memberships per location to veterans each year, which adds up to roughly 3,000 across the brand. Many franchisees host events at their clubs over Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day in support of the Lift for the 22 campaign.
In addition to Lift for the 22, many franchisees host other charitable events in their communities, like Beth Daze in Lenexa, Kansas, whose club partners with the Noah’s Bandage Project, a local nonprofit that collects bandages for children in support of pediatric cancer research.
“These fundraisers and charity events allow us to connect with our local community on a genuine level while giving back to individuals in need,” said Daze. “It’s incredible to see the community come together as one in support of such a great cause.”
In May 2016, Daze’s Workout Anytime club held a festival in its parking lot with an entry fee of two boxes of bandages per person or a direct donation to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation. The festival featured entertainment, including a bouncy house for kids, food truck and an appearance by the local fire and police stations. Daze said that nearly 400 people came out to the event in support of pediatric cancer.
“We constantly and consistently emphasize community involvement as a core element to our brand—it is one of three key strategic initiatives established in our current business plan, and something we build into the DNA of our organization at all levels,” said de Gorter.
This commitment to being active in the local community has differentiated Workout Anytime from others in the fitness segment, leading the 140-unit brand to achieve record growth in 2017. In the first three quarters of the year, WORKOUT ANYTIME sold 32 franchises and opened 21 new clubs, with a target of 60-70 clubs set to open in 2018.