Retail/club partnerships prove mutually beneficial: Busy Body/Gyms To Go

Whether one company owns both stores and gyms, as is the case with Busy Body/Gyms To Go, or they are separate businesses, there can be benefits to an alliance. Gyms To Go shares with SNEWS what it has gained from these partnerships.
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These days it’s a given that Busy Body/Gyms To Go of Florida is partnering and promoting area gyms: The clubs belong to the same business.

The second Busy Body Fitness Center (www.busybodyfitnesscenters.com) is in Fort Lauderdale and a third is on the horizon, said co-owner Carlos Vazquez. A first opened in 2009. (Click here to see a June 15, 2009, SNEWS® story.) 

Ads are split 50/50 in area papers because Vazquez said he believes clubs and retail stores can not only co-exist but -- even if not owned by the same person -- can be mutually beneficial.

“The ads build awareness” of both entities, he said. “It’s word-of-mouth.” (Pictured right: Half-page color advertisement in the Sun-Sentinel from Labor Day weekend.)

His own gyms are usually near one of his stores, so the flow goes back-and-forth as a part of a brand-building campaign. But purchases -- home training gear by club members from stores or memberships from clubs -- can boost any bottom line.

“It’s beneficial to all of us,” said Frank Paciella, manager of the Boca Raton Busy Body store, which is across the street from the first club that opened.

The stores have free passes to the clubs, while the clubs offer a small discount to members at the stores and a gift certificate upon joining. Paciella said he sees “a tremendous amount” of business coming from the club. Those customers are often telling him something like, “I want something for when I can’t get to the gym,” such as a treadmill, a bike, a stability ball, small dumbbells or whatever.

Even before Gyms To Go (www.gymstogo.com) had its own clubs, Vazquez said he never hesitated to contact clubs near his stores.

“I can tell you, every time we heard about a gym opening up near one of our stores, we were in touch,” he said, especially smaller, independent clubs. “It’s brand awareness.”

Particularly helpful is proximity, so members/customers can easily reach the other business. Plus, owners need an open mind about the awareness-building benefits and perhaps creating a relationship for future purchases.

“We are definitely getting as many into the retail store as we send to the gym,” Paciella said. And, he added, if even one of every 100 members buys a piece of equipment, that’s one piece he may not have sold before.

“In today’s market, you need to use any tool you can, and if there’s a tool that doesn’t cost anything, why not?” he said.

“Anything you can do to get them into the store,” he said, “is a benefit.”

--Therese Iknoian

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