By Mario Toneguzzi
Keep Cool Canada, with its style of providing a balanced, low-pressure gym without judgement or intimidation, says it is the perfect escape from life’s demands and pressures.
Tanguy Saillant, director of operations for Keep Cool Canada, says the Toronto location at 530 Yonge Street will open at the end of January or beginning of February in 6,500 square feet.
“We’d like to open two more locations next year in 2018 in Toronto. My plan at the beginning is to open three gyms in two years and after that I just need to know if the concept is working or not. If we have success or not, and if we have success probably we’ll actually open more and maybe go to franchising,” says Saillant.
He brought the Keep Cool concept from France where it was established in 2002 and it currently has close to 150 gyms there as Franchising Manager.
The Toronto location is its first foray into the North American market.
The company used Montreal-based POTLOC's crowdsourcing platform to determine where the demand is for new locations.
POTLOC is transforming the way market research is done in the retail industry. Its mission is to build smarter neighbourhoods by giving consumers a voice. Every citizen in a defined trade area is asked to choose the next stores they would like to see open in their neighbourhood. These hyper-local consumers’ insights are then used by retailers, real estate companies and cities to optimize the local retail offering.
“We’ve worked with POTLOC to help understand what could be the expectation of Canadian people in the gym. We wanted to understand what is most important for people,” says Saillant.
“For example, complimentary towels. We don’t do this in France but here it was the first thing people asked when I did the survey.”
Keep Cool’s motto is Le Sport Bonheur which translated to English means Sports Happiness. The Canadian motto, modified, will be 'Fitness from France'.
In Toronto, it will include a bike studio, an elliptical studio, a studio gym, and several learning classrooms. It will have all the amenities of a modern fitness location - WiFi, TVs, Internet, private change rooms and showers, modern equipment, and a team of trainers.
“The gym is available from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. You can access the gym when you want and you can do what you want when you want,” says Saillant. “We are trying to create a very welcoming atmosphere.”
Here’s what the company says about itself on its Facebook account:
“We’re not extreme or hardcore. We’re not a tribe or cult. We’re a fitness community. Located in downtown Toronto, our gym is an open and welcome place without judgement or intimidation.
We believe in balance. In France, the importance of fitness is matched by the importance of wine. A healthy life shouldn’t be one without indulgences. We want you to get something from the journey, to enjoy the satisfaction of small wins and progress in your workouts. You don’t need another exercise or weight loss commitment to obsess over. You need a release from life’s demands and pressures.
You need empowerment, support and guidance from personal trainers who aren't pushy. You need a gym that’s right for you. You need, Keep Cool.”
**Images from Keep Cool (including social media accounts), including additional images below.
Slideshow of various Keep Cool locations in France. Photos: Keep Cool Facebook
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more of today's retail news: Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: January 4, 2018