Thursday, September 6, 2007
Local Owners Separated From the Gold's Gym Name to Create The Sports Clubs
Steve D'Amico says he had always been a big supporter of Gold's Gym since the first location opened in California more than 30 years ago. D'Amico and his wife, Elise, have owned and operated four Gold's Gym locations in the North Valley, Downtown, Rio Rancho and the Northeast Heights for the past 12 years. Prior to coming to Albuquerque, the couple had been partners in the original Gold's Gyms in Honolulu, Hawaii.
That connection, plus the expense, made it difficult to walk away from the Gold's name and create a new brand called The Sports Clubs last October. "The only thing that really changed was the name," D'Amico said. "We didn't lose a single member because of the switch." D'Amico said that one of the reasons their members remained loyal was because they had a hand in the new name change. A contest was held and several different names were suggested. In the end "The Sports Clubs" received the highest votes.
With that change, the D'Amicos threw themselves into the transition, which obviously included changing signs, uniforms, merchandise, marketing and the day to day paper war. The change also gave the couple the opportunity to make some changes in their four locations as well. Some new equipment was added and some new paint was thrown on the walls. All traces of Gold's Gym were removed and replaced by the new logo, which features a coat of arms with a knight's helmet surrounded by "flexing" branches of leaves. At the time of the name change, the couple's daughter Samantha, had a school project to research their family crest. The new Sports Clubs logo is actually the D'Amico family Coat of Arms.
D'Amico said the split from Gold's Gym came down to simple economics- new corporate owners wanted more in franchise fees and the D'Amicos didn't want to pay them. "The fees went from $6,000 a year for each club to $50,000 a year for each," D'Amico said. "It was too much."
Albuquerque still has a franchised Gold's Gym at Montgomery and San Mateo NE. D'Amico is not connected to that franchise in any manner.
D'Amico said it doesn't hurt to have a recognized brand name when entering a market in the gym business. However, he said The Sports Clubs have been able to hang on to their members because of the quality of service they provide at an inexpensive price. Cost of a memberships start at $29.95 a month with a low $30 enrollment fee. Members can pay more for different services, such as a Certified Personal Trainer and their guaranteed Weight Management Program, D'Amico said. But it's The Sports Clubs' dedication to its members' needs that keep people coming back, he said.
"Some clubs are interested in signing up members in masses and don't care if they come back. We're not into that. We know our members have real fitness goals that they want to achieve. If we help them finally achieve their goals, not only will they look better and feel better, but they will help promote our Clubs by telling a friend about us. There is no better form of advertising then a happy member."
The Sports Clubs:
OWNERS: Steve and Elise D'Amico
HOURS: Times vary at locations