Small Gyms Proliferate Here


Small new gyms are popping up here like coffee huts, as health club owners scramble to capture members who want to work out closer to home. Meanwhile, larger, more traditional clubs are expanding or tapping new areas of town to hold their own in an increasingly competitive fray.

“We’re all neck-and-neck here on the North Side,” Michael Lee, president of Global Fitness, says of the competition. “I think it’s true in any of the businesses you’re in. It can kill you, or make you excited and work harder.”

Owners of new health-club locations say their membership numbers are on target with their goals, but they opened their doors with fewer initial members than they had hoped.

Snap Fitness franchisee Jeff Spencer recently opened his second Spokane-area Snap Fitness location in the Indian Trail neighborhood and plans another outlet in Spokane Valley next year. Spencer says that while adding new members at the North Side gym initially was slow going because of a late spring opening, business since has picked up. At the South Hill location he opened last fall, memberships are nearing 750, which he says is within his target range for that gym.

Two franchisees of Anytime Fitness, another chain of small gyms, have opened four clubs here, one each on the North Side and in Liberty Lake, Post Falls, and Deer Park. Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness both are Minnesota-based franchises that allow members key- card access to their facilities 24 hours a day.

In addition to new gyms, others are remodeling, moving to larger spaces, or disappearing. Oz Fitness is completing a large-scale expansion of its South Hill club. Meanwhile, Renaissance Fitness, a small women-only club on the South Hill that opened in 2004, recently closed.

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