Many U.S. fitness franchises are growing quickly. In fact, Snap Fitness recently signed four new franchise agreements in the course of one week, and Anytime Fitness was named No. 2 on Entrepreneur’s “Top Franchises for 2015” list.
However, instead of getting discouraged when franchises began moving into its market, Miami Athletic Club (MAC) in Milford, Ohio saw an opportunity.
“The segmentation and division of the fitness market from small boutiques to low-price franchises have provided a challenge that requires MAC to provide excellent customer service and better programming, and to significantly differentiate services from the competition even more,” said Kris Stapleton, the owner of MAC. “MAC provides such a variety of services that all ages and fitness levels of individuals and families can workout in harmony.”
MAC was founded in 1984 as Royal Family Fitness Center, prior to the change to its current name in 2006. It began as a small, 8,000-square-foot facility, with limited services, but has since expanded to 25,000 square feet, with a variety of offerings. Members can participate in over 50 group exercise classes a week, take swim lessons, get nutrition advice and much more.
In addition to providing members with a ton of health and fitness options, MAC prides itself on customer service. “MAC staff does an outstanding job of connecting personally with members at the front desk, in classes and throughout the club,” said Stapleton. “These personal interactions have grown a strong community, ‘Cheers’ type atmosphere. It has allowed MAC customers to experience more that just a fitness club, but an atmosphere that they have grown to love and enjoy.”
According to Stapleton, members love the fact that the owner is easily accessible. “MAC makes a difference by not being a corporately owned or franchised club. For the members, it makes for a much different feel that a local owner is on site to make immediate improvements and changes,” she said.
As for how other clubs could provide similar customer service to MAC’s, Stapleton said to simply make it a priority. “Focus on improving the club experience for members — ask them how your club is performing. Stay in tune with what is developing in the industry. Read, seek education and know what is coming down the pipeline. Keep an open mind,” she added.