Friday, January 8, 2010

Smaller Gyms Show Muscle

“It’s the new paradigm in fitness centers and, particularly in urban centers like Atlanta, it’s where young professionals want to have the option to exercise anytime. Two of the newer chains, Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness, both with metro Atlanta locations, are among the top 10 fastest-growing franchises in the U.S., according to Entrepreneur magazine. A Dunwoody-based chain, Workout Anytime, has also begun to expand, opening 5,000- square-foot gyms around Atlanta. It plans to open clubs across the Southeast.Other new chains that resemble the larger, more established gyms are also growing, including L.A. Fitness. But the popularity of the smaller, stripped-down facilities is soaring as the recession drives people to spend less. The newer breed of gym operator says many members never use the saunas or pools at bigger clubs such as Bally’s or World Gym and they don’t want to pay for them. Some of the newer gyms cost half as much as the older gyms and don’t insist on full-year contracts. Workout Anytime, for example, charges $15 a month. ‘The majority of people just...

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