Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brothers Go Retro To Drum Up Gym Business

Not long ago Ben Filingeri and his brother Sal decided they wanted to go into the health and fitness industry. Only one problem: They were already in it. Three years ago, the brothers opened the Long Island Sports and Fitness Institute, a 24,000-square-foot health club that included a full-court indoor basketball floor.That was 2007. The brothers felt confident their big health club would take off, since the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association predicted gym memberships would spike by more than 1.5 million in a year. Instead, when the recession hit, the numbers, like many people’s going-to-get-in-shape vows, went the wrong way, tanking by 1 million members. ‘It got really rough,’ Ben Filingeri said.The brothers researched other health-club models and came upon Retro Fitness, a New Jersey-based franchiser. With 54 locations nationally - four on Long Island - Retro Fitness has a 1980s theme. That means ubiquitous music and graphics recalling the decade and such movies...


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