By Mario Toneguzzi
Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Club, based in British Columbia, is looking to grow its brand across the province and possibly beyond its boundaries.
Chris Smith, president and Chief Operating Officer of the popular brand named after the National Basketball Association great player, said the company has grown from 13 clubs seven years ago to 23 today.
“We’ve put 10 more in the ground in the last seven years and intend to continue on that pace of growth and expansion just even here within B.C. and certainly ideally long-term potentially beyond the borders of British Columbia when the right opportunity presents itself and we think it would be beneficial to the business,” said Smith.
There is one location in Kelowna, one on the island in Victoria and the rest of the clubs are all in the Lower Mainland.
It recently opened two new locations on Vancouver's North Shore - the Lonsdale Fitness World in North Vancouver, and the Park Royal Sports Club at Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver.
Fitness World itself was originally founded in 1959.
“It was the longest standing fitness presence in B.C. and we always have been and we’re certainly proud of that,” said Smith.
But the company in its current form was essentially born in 2008-2009.
“Everything we do is really about finding the right fit for our culture and the communities . . . Certainly looking for those opportunities as they might exist for us in the future,” said Smith.
He said a few things separate Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Clubs from competitors.
One is the fact that the company is a local group.
“We’re proud that we’re B.C. and Canadian based,” said Smith.
“Beyond that, there’s certainly a level of service and differentiation there. I think a lot of people in the fitness business would certainly speak to that. ‘Hey our service level is different or we take care of people differently’. But I would just say when you measure factually, objectively, our member penetration rates as it relates to members who participate with a personal trainer or if you were to talk about percentage of members that engage in group fitness on a regular basis, our statistics are fairly overwhelming and I would say far ahead of the North American average in terms of what folks do and how they engage in our business.”
Ultimately, he said, it’s a testament to the team and how they engage members on a regular basis.
“Making sure they have a place that they’re comfortable, confident and motivated to come work out at,” said Smith.
“Everything we do on the fitness side of things or personal training or what we do on the group fitness side of things, we partner with some key strategic partners. The vast majority of what we do is all built in-house. So we have a lot of our in-house development and training and onboarding in course curriculum development. It’s all done from our team to be able to deliver a world-class experience to those members.”
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.