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Gym Buyers Look to Renovate, Pump Up Memberships

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Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee)

 

Chattanooga gym and sports training center D1 is being bought with plans by the new ownership team to pump up memberships and flex its facilities with the help of some hefty renovations.

Businessman Neil Highfield said he and his partners in D1 -- which are "most likely" to continue to include former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning — are to complete the deal within the next few weeks.

"The owners approached me and wanted to see if it was something I was interested in," he said. Highfield wouldn't reveal the purchase price, saying the transaction isn't finalized yet.

He said the D1 site, located off Commons Boulevard in East Brainerd, is shifting from a corporate-owned unit to a franchise facility. The D1 company itself is switching to a franchise model, said Highfield, who owns several construction trades-related businesses in the Chattanooga area.

He admitted that owning the training facility is "out of my wheelhouse," but he foresees efforts to focus on areas where its clientele were neglected at the gym in the past.

Already, new artificial turf in a 60-yard-by-25-yard space has been installed inside the location and there's a lot more to come, said Highfield, who was a member.

He sees a variety of efforts to revitalize and refresh the facility, which is about 10 years old.

"There are things in general preventative maintenance that need to be attended," Highfield said. "We're working on a lot of different things."

Jeff Smith, D1's general manager, said he expects to see renovations including top-to-bottom insulation, new equipment, paint and lights.

He said D1 has about 200 active members, depending on the time of year, not including personal training.

Both he and Highfield said the goal is to grow that number.

"It's imperative to grow membership," Highfield said. "We're setting things in place to make them want to come."

Smith said D1 specializes in training in such sports as soccer, basketball and football.

"We train you to get you ... bigger, faster and to jump higher," he said, noting it does specific training to help speed and agility.

Also, D1 offers adult classes in "a normal boot-camp format," he said.

"We are training kids from age 7 to adults," Smith said.

D1 calls itself "a different kind of gym franchise" by delivering training usually reserved for "Division 1 athletes."

Unlike so-called big-box gyms, which charge small membership fees and provide little in the way of service or support, D1 says it assembles teams of qualified trainers, fitness experts and support personnel. It also provides individual and group training classes and offers instruction in basic athleticism, advanced cross-training and fitness, and targeted workout programs.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

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July 6, 2017
 
 
 

 

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