Membership surges at new Choice fitness centerChoice Health & Fitness’ biggest problem in its first week open was a good one to have. The Grand Forks Park District’s $23 million facility didn’t have enough employees to handle the crowd.
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
Choice Health & Fitness’ biggest problem in its first week open was a good one to have. The Grand Forks Park District’s $23 million facility didn’t have enough employees to handle the crowd.
“We’ve had to hire 10 more employees in the customer service and maintenance areas,” said Cam Tweten, Choice’s manager.
And, he added, signing up for a membership might require a short wait.
The reason for a possible wait and the additional workers is the traffic from residents eager to join the facility that replaces the cramped and antiquated Center Court Fitness.
In the last six weeks, club membership has climbed from 1,240 to 2,200. And, Tweten said, new memberships recently are averaging 60 to 70 per day.
“It’s been non-stop,” he said. “It’s surprising because the weather has been beautiful, not prime time for selling memberships. People usually wait until the weather turns bad, when it’s more attractive to do their recreation inside rather than outside. But, people are obviously excited.”
Also excited are people who perhaps fretted that increased memberships wouldn’t match the added size and expense of the new facility.
But Choice and Altru Family YMCA now have a combined 3,800 memberships. That’s 300 more than what the business plan calls for at the end of 2013. A membership at either facility means access to both.
“In September, we signed up close to 100 new members here,” said Bob McWilliams, YMCA’s chief operating officer.
“Normally, our numbers don’t start increasing until October. With Choice and the renovations at the YMCA, people are coming back a month sooner than normal.”
Tweten added that the membership demographics have changed with Choice. At Center Court, the vast majority of memberships were for individuals. Now, family memberships are in the majority.
Youth were especially scarce at Center Court. But Choice’s water facilities have been an attraction for that age group, as shown by the birthday party bookings.
“For the month of October, we have 72 birthday parties, which we limited to weekends,” Tweten said. “But, with the demand, we’re now booking birthday parties seven days a week.”
Because of the opening surge, Tweten said he believes combined Choice/YMCA memberships by the end of 2013 will be close to 5,000, which is 1,500 more than the business plan expected.
Call Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1125; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.