When I took my background in business and finance and founded Prestige Fitness in 2009 with Ron Yousefnejad, we started with a passion to help people, a business plan and what I like to call nearly perfect execution. Ron, with a bachelor’s degree in physiology, began his career in fitness as a personal trainer at Bally Total Fitness and then training director. Him and I both shared a dream to own and operate our own gym.
Fast forward 12 years, and Prestige Fitness, our single facility location in Tucson, Arizona, was ranked this year at No. 4,729 on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in America.
What is a single location fitness facility doing on the Inc. 5000 list, you’re probably asking? Well, it’s a long story, but one I’ll try to tell succinctly.
We had big plans when we put together our business plan in 2008 to open a world-class gym that offered classes, 24/7 member access, personal training services along with amenities such as free bottled water and towel service. But then the economy went into a recession in 2008, and our prospects seemed dim. We were denied bank loans on multiple occasions, but our tenacity paid off and the bank finally agreed to loan us our start-up money.
We opened our doors in on Labor Day weekend in September 2009 with about 200 members. Carefully defining our mission was and still is the guide to our company’s evolution: “Prestige Fitness is committed to being tomorrow’s health solution for today’s modern lifestyle, by integrating the latest technologies to promote wellness within our communities.”
We situated our club in the middle of two big box chains, Bally Total Fitness and LA Fitness, to offer people a more personalized experience, but this was before the rise of boutiques. Little did we know that we were in at the birth of the now-popular boutique fitness movement.
Still, the first few years were slow and didn’t meet our financial expectations.
We knew we offered the best services of any gym around, the most start-of-the-art facility, but we struggled with our identity—were we a gym, a place to take classes or a personal training studio?
While we tried to master all of those trades, we became increasingly frustrated with the lack of results we had hoped for as a business.
Then, bargain big box gyms started to hit the scene, more personal training studios emerged and class-focused models became popular. With all this new competition, it became even more difficult to compete.
We knew we didn’t have a clear identity to the public, so we revisited our model, our intentions and what we needed to do to become known as the best-in-class within our market. We didn’t change our roots, our mission or our core values, but we did change our approach. Lifestyle, wellness and one-on-one service is the core of who we are and why our clients come to us over and over again.
We developed a six-step process that includes 3D body scanning, RMR testing, nutritional services, in-depth physical assessment, posture assessments, nutritional guidance and massage. We defined our brand promise that resonates with our staff and our clients; “Integrity and safety serve as our compass in creating the trusted partnership every client needs on their journey to transformation. Together, we will raise the bar.”
Once we made these changes, Prestige Fitness had an identity that staff and clients could get behind and that we hope will endure for years to come.
This renewed model yielded hypergrowth results. In the past three years, we had revenue growth of 63 percent, and we quadrupled staff from 10 trainers to more than 40. Each trainer enjoys a consistently full schedule, reliable clients and a brand that is trusted in the community. Just a few short years ago the average training package was 24 one-hour sessions, which most people in the industry would consider the norm. Today, the average package sold is 100 one-hour sessions, up to 200-300 sessions sold at a time. This allows members to use a bevy of one-on-one services such as massage, posture, personal training and nutritional guidance. As a facility, we are training on average 130 to 145 hours per day. Our online reputation with Google and Yelp is five stars with hundreds of reviews from happy clients.
In addition, our team volunteers their time to the community and charities such as the Ronald McDonald House, Angel Charity for the Children, The Delta Community Food Bank, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and many more. Our tag line, created in 2008, embodies who we are as a company and as people: “Your Health. Your Future. Our Passion.”
The Prestige Fitness brand and team created a winning culture that has helped us retain many clients, even through the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we experienced a decrease in new clients and training hours, we were able to retain 91 percent of our existing clientele, which kept staff working and the company above water, even during a state-mandated four-month closure.
So, I like to think these are some of the reasons Prestige Fitness was recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of America’s fastest growing companies. The future for Prestige Fitness is looking strong; Ron and I have big plans for expansions and to continue to serve thousands of happy clients.
Joe Genova is co-owner of Prestige Fitness, Tucson, Arizona, which he founded with his business partner Ron Yousefnejad, in 2009. Along with a degree in business from the University of Arizona, he has a background in business stemming from his family owned and operated printing company. Genova not only has a passion for fitness but also a passion to help people in their fitness and transformation journey.