Premium Partners

Power-Generating Equipment Credited for Gym's Rapid Expansion has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

Copyright 2013 Dolan Media Newswires
All Rights Reserved

Long Island Business (Long Island, NY)
October 21, 2013 Monday
686 words
People power Retro Fitness gyms on Long Island
David Winzelberg

Russ Golan didn't think he'd open his second gym just eight months after opening his first.

But the Retro Fitness franchisee is already planning a third, thanks in part to some novel engineering that has gym users powering the exercise machines, helping him trim energy costs.

When Golan and his wife, Amy, decided to become Retro Fitness owners, they wanted to incorporate green building techniques to be kind to the environment and reduce energy costs, their second largest expense after rent. So the Golans teamed with architect Angelo Corva, who designed their first location - a 15,000-square-foot industrial space on Eileen Way in Syosset - with an eye toward lessening a gym's voracious appetite for power.

The electric bill for the average Retro Fitness gym in the area runs about $6,000 a month. For the last three months, the Golans' average monthly electric bill in Syosset has been $4,100 - a savings of about 32 percent.

At the Golans' gym, every piece of workout equipment with a motor - except for treadmills - is powered by its user. So the person rocking the elliptical is also generating the electricity that keeps it ticking.

But that's not all. The Retro Fitness in Syosset also features special reflective windows that keep energy in, as well as extra-thick roof insulation and reclaimed rubber floors. High-efficiency LED lighting replaced the building's original fluorescent fixtures and electricity is supplied through a 480-amp line with a step-down transformer that uses 30 percent less power.

Even more energy savings come from the gym's tank-less water heaters and efficient 18-inch ceiling fans.

The Golans' second Retro Fitness opens in Freeport the first week of November. It will incorporate the same energy-stingy strategies as the Syosset facility, earning Russ Golan the nickname "Mr. Green Gyms. "

"I've learned so much from the first one, applied it to Freeport and now I'm almost a pro," he said.

Already planning a third Retro Fitness gym in western Nassau County, the husband-and-wife franchisees still haven't given up their day jobs: running a Dix Hills-based medical equipment company called VIP Direct. But the firm's sales have suffered as a result of major consolidations in the health-care industry, prompting the Golans to diversify and start their fitness empire. They looked at several franchise options before choosing Retro.

"It was kind of a segue," Golan said. "What's better than health and fitness?"

Not much, apparently, considering the recent expansion of the Colts Neck, N.J.-based Retro Fitness brand. Founded in 2004, Retro Fitness is slated to have 100 locations before the end of the year and another 50 by the end of 2014. There are currently 11 Retro Fitness locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Retro Fitness is one of a growing number of no-frills gym concepts, like Blink and Planet Fitness, with low monthly membership fees. Retro charges $19.99 a month, where plusher health clubs command three to five times that price.

On Long Island, all-in costs to open a Retro Fitness run about $1.5 million, and Golan said it takes 18 months to break even. The company is still seeking franchisees for the area. Ideal locations are retail spaces from 12,000 to 14,000 square feet.

Matt Schultz, vice president of operations at Retro Fitness, said the company's first attempt at a green gym was built into its Deer Park location and the initiative has been advanced by the Golans.

"Green techniques are always at the forefront when discussing construction techniques with our franchisees," Schultz said. "Anytime we can help save our franchisees money is a win and we can't think of a better way than starting right at the beginning with going green with the construction efforts. "

The gym's environmentally responsible design has also been a selling point for prospective members, Golan noted.

"When we give our tour we tell them that the gym is as green as possible and how much money we save," he said. "People really appreciate that. " Click here for more from this resource.

© 2013 Dolan Media Newswires. All Rights Reserved.

October 25, 2013

Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms and Conditions Privacy Policy
AB Show 2022 in Orlando
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Learn More
AB Show
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide