Vancouver ranks among Canada’s fittest cities, but running a successful gym franchise in the region is not easy.
The city’s fitness-club sector has a wide range of ambitious entrepreneurs muscling in for a slice of what Statistics Canada valued at a $2.9 billion industry in 2014.
The trend among the more successful gym chains is to diversify with multiple brands, to have a niche to stand out from the crowd and to have smaller facilities.
Diversification is why Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness co-owners Trevor Linden and Chuck Lawson bought the Lower Mainland franchise rights for Orangetheory Fitness (OTF), which provides fitness classes.
Orangetheory Fitness locations are considerably smaller than full-size gyms. (The investment required to open a Orangetheory Fitness franchise is between $243,100 and $482,600. There is an initial franchise fee of $29,500.)
Linden and Lawson’s main venture is their eight-location Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness chain, in which all gyms include separate women-only sections called She’s Fit. One of those centres opened earlier this year in Surrey and the next launch will depend on finding real estate.
“We were looking for another niche brand that we could go into,” Linden said. “It’s a lot easier to find a 3,000-square-foot location [for Orangetheory Fitness] than a 25,000-square-foot location [for a full gym.]”
Also getting in on the action are the many entrepreneurs who have bought Anytime Fitness franchises from that Minnesota-based gym giant.
There are 16 Anytime Fitness locations in Metro Vancouver, said the company’s national media director Mark Daly. Eight of those locations opened in the past year, and Daly expects another seven to launch in Metro Vancouver within the next year.
Anytime Fitness’ global expansion has rocketed to a pace of more than 300 new locations added annually, and the company now operates more than 3,300 gyms.
Anytime charges an initial franchise fee of from US$20,000 to US$37,500, with total startup costs from approximately US$100,000 to US$400,000