Friday, August 7, 2009

Annapolis Athletic Club Expands in Eastport

“The Annapolis Athletic Club last week began a $500,000 construction project that will expand the gym and renovate existing space. Club owner Mike Myers said the gym is taking over the 4,000 square feet that was formerly home to the Annapolis Senior Center with plans to transform it into a new Pilates studio, a multipurpose room for parties and group exercise classes, and a conference facility. The project is slated to be finished by December. The goal is not necessarily to increase membership, but to meet the needs of the gym's current 2,000 members, Myers said. ‘We know what our members want,’ he said. ‘We have a lot of loyalty.’ The club is expanding at a time when the local gym landscape is changing. Despite the recession, Myers said his club has been able to maintain monthly dues of roughly $83. That's about $28 more than the median price that some for-profit, commercial fitness centers charge, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association. Myers said that figure accounts for gyms within a broad range of demographics, but that his rates are ‘comparatively priced.’ Unlike some other gyms, the Annapolis Athletic Center includes classes and other services built into its monthly member fee, he said. Still, Myers said the gym has worked out payment plans with members having trouble. ‘You don't want to create exceptions across the board, but you are very willing to listen to what the story is,’ he said. Rosemary Lavery, spokeswoman for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, said the health club industry has been hit by recession, but that gym membership is something that many people are not willing to give up. ‘Not taking care of yourself is not going to help you push through tough times,’ she said. She said industry revenue rose to $19.1 billion in 2008 compared with $18.5 billion in 2007. She said the clubs that will do well in the future are the ones reinvesting in their current facilities now. ‘It's a lot harder to gain a prospective member than keep a current one,’ she said.”

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