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Established Facility Continues to Succeed

Programming, staff and the members themselves help to make Equinox Fitness a success.

Where will your fitness business be 10 years from now? Will it still be thriving? Equinox Fitness - 92nd & Broadway, located in the upper west side of Manhattan, is confident that it will still be around in 10 years, since its first 12 years have been so successful. Set in a residential neighborhood populated with people of all ages, ethnicities and religious beliefs, the facility's population is a direct reflection of the community. In fact, many members have said that it feels like a second home to them, according to General Manager Adam Gecht. "Many of our members joined in 1995, when we opened, as single working people or Columbia University students. These charter members have shaped our programs through their participation and input," says Gecht. "In this club, they have met life partners, and many of them now have young children playing in our Kids'Club while they take a cycling class together."

That type of community feel is what makes Equinox such a success. In addition, "Equinox prides itself in having the best and newest equipment, and in maintaining the facility in its highest level," Gecht says. One feature that sets Equinox apart is "the minute attention to cleanliness," says Gecht. Daily management walk-throughs include white-glove inspection of all surfaces, including the tops of lockers. "New and returning members from other facilities routinely give us feedback that they would never shower anywhere else!" Gecht says.

Equinox Fitness - 92nd & Broadway

New York, N.Y.212 799-1818; Date facility opened: November 1995 Fitness facility size: 40,000 square feet Number of members: 5,100-plus Group exercise classes: 110 per week, including cycling, dance, yoga, sculpting, Pilates, boot camp, kick boxing and fusion combo classes Unique features/offerings: Juice bar with hot and cold offerings, pro shop, fully equipped Pilates studio, mind/body studio, indoor cycling studio, Kids' Club, full-service spa
The fitness center's offerings are also comprehensive and unique. Equinox' three-tier personal training system caters to the fitness goals of each member, including pre- or post-natal, injuries, sports-specific training and more. Personal training is the facility's biggest profit center, and makes up about 25 percent of its revenue. Close to 10 percent of members are active clients who train two to three days per week, according to Gecht, and one out of every five new members purchases personal training at the point of sale. "By completing more than 100 fitness evaluations each month, we are converting about 35 percent to new clients. We have been averaging 55 new clients per month," Gecht says. Equinox has a growing personal training staff of 38 trainers and, in March, the facility exceeded 3,200 personal training sessions, which set a new record.

In addition to personal training, group exercise is also popular at Equinox. It offers more than 100 classes weekly that appeal to all demographics. The facility also offers regular special events that feature unique classes such as Forza (a group fitness class using swords), and long classes taught by multiple instructors that last hours and challenge members to push themselves to their physical and mental limits. Instructors help to keep the group program going strong. Most of the yoga instructors at Equinox have been practicing a minimum of 15 years, and have trained all over the world. Dance instructors have Broadway credits, and many of the cycling instructors have raced competitively. Says Gecht, "Some members travel from all over the city to take a class with their favorite group fitness instructors."

This loyalty to group instructors extends to the whole staff at Equinox. "The competence, talent, friendliness and longevity of our staff members have paved the way for relationships that compel our members to renew again and again," Gecht says. "Our managers and our staff are all serious, dedicated professionals with training, knowledge, experience and passion for the industry. Managers and staff share a sense of camaraderie, and everyone has expressed at one time or another that they look forward to coming to work."

A clean facility, great programming and exceptional staff all come together to help make Equinox a success year after year. But, Gecht says that it's the members who really make it all come together. "We receive letters from former members who ... tell us that there is nothing like this Equinox family anywhere they have traveled or lived. Here, they have their friends, their families and their communities. Our members themselves have laid the groundwork of our success. We have learned that when these relationships are nurtured, retention comes effortlessly."

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