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Hybrid gym concept and new franchisees drive Stepz Fitness expansion

Hybrid gym concept and new franchisees drive Stepz Fitness expansion
March 10, 2020

Having last year unveiled a brand evolution and hybrid gym concept that integrates functional group training alongside their existing 24/7 gym model, after only a couple of months in 2020, Australian gym franchise Stepz Fitness is delivering on its expansion plans.

The chain’s newest location in the NSW town of Dapto proves the model more than lives up to the hype.

Revealing that the recently opened Dapto studio has now registered well over 250 members, over 50% of whom had signed up for the premium group training membership, franchisor Sam Waller advised “we have known for a while that this model is what the fitness market needs; the rapid success of Dapto has reinforced that confidence in the model.”

In addition to the studio’s high occupancy either, Waller revealed that the strong membership numbers have greatly exceeded initial financial expectations too, with new owner Daniel Hotchkis breaking even after just six weeks.

Waller added “in a traditional 24-hour model the break-even point is a lot higher. Since we have the premium group training membership option, we can reduce the number of members needed to break-even.

“Daniel has fully embraced the new brand and business model. Much to my surprise, he even got our new logo tattooed on his arm, now if that’s not commitment to the brand I don’t know what is.”

With the success of the latest Dapto studio steering the brand forward, Waller is anticipating further growth during the year, starting with a few high-profile recruits.

Waller revealed that the latest franchisee to join the Stepz family is celebrity trainer Ivan Murray, known for having helped former model and reality star Tziporah Malkah (previously Kate Fischer) shed more than 50 kilograms.

Murray and wife Julie have signed on as franchisees for the Stepz Fitness Benowa gym on the Gold Coast after downsizing their three gym operation in Nowra.

Explaining that the addition of the experienced fitness professionals was a huge boost to the network, Waller commended “Ivan and Julie fit into the Stepz family very well. Their vision for the business and the way in which they operate are well aligned with Stepz Fitness values.

“In a franchise system it is rare to attract someone who already has owned many successful businesses in the same industry. The Stepz network is very excited to welcome Ivan and Julie.”

In a dual consultant/franchisee role, the celebrity trainer is sharing industry-specific advice and insights that will soon be handed down to the rest of the Stepz network.

However, Waller revealed that the pair were initially apprehensive to join the network due to their previous industry experience but after viewing the hybrid model in action at Dapto, the couple quickly changed their tune.

Waller advised “Ivan was hesitant about joining any franchise network as they currently had a wealth of knowledge in the fitness industry. Already equipped with a strong knowledge of running multiple successful gym operations.

“But after I met with them at Dapto, they quickly saw a great opportunity. Ivan and Julie are both very hands-on owners. This is the type of partner we look for, particularly with the new Stepz concept expansion.”

Keeping the Momentum up in 2020
With both Dapto and Benowa kick-starting a bumper 2020 for Stepz Fitness, the future is looking positive for the Australian gym chain.

Explaining that the brand is currently working on refining the system to ensure existing gyms transition to the new branding and format with ease, Waller went on to say “the model we have now is something that we see as sustainable well into the future. That being said, in business we always need to stay dynamic and look ahead.

“Right now, we are focused on opening our new gyms in NSW as well as improving our support tools for our current group. We are helping our Queensland sites transition with Stepz Parkinson being the first.”

The Stepz franchisor also revealed that the brand plans to enter new states over the next 12 months, concluding “looking further ahead, we plan to enter new states and we will look at global expansion once we have met our goals in Australia. When we created this model for a long-term future.

“The success we have seen since the roll-out of our new concept is proof that the investment, research and development into the new brand has been worth it. Our customers, franchisees and staff all have this same belief. In our 10 years of operation, this year will be the biggest growth Stepz Fitness has experienced.”

Two new gyms are set to open in the next two months at Lismore in northern NSW and Castle Hill in north western Sydney, with the chain eager to replicate the Dapto success.

For more information visit www.stepzfitness.com.au

Image: Sam Waller and Daniel Hotchkis at Stepz Fitness Dapto.

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