September 6, 2008

Workouts Becomes A Gold’s Gym

By Mekeel, Tim

In York, a Gold's Gym franchisee was looking for a way to return to Lancaster. In Lancaster, the Workouts fitness center's owners were looking for a way to upgrade their facility.

Each side has found its answer in the other.

Workouts owners Don Anderson and Mike Kellam have leased their Harrisburg Pike facility to Gold's Gym franchisee Kurt Krieger. The change was effective Tuesday.

Krieger intends to invest $1.7 million in new equipment and renovations for the East Hempfield center, which adjoins Anderson and Kellam's Golden Meadows swimming pools.

"We've been trying to get back into the market. ... We're going to come back strong," said Krieger.

Though the deal means the end of Workouts, its owners were happy to lease their 41,000-square-foot building to someone who will improve the facility and its programs.

"Mike and I took Workouts as far as we could," said Anderson. "But we knew it needed more staff, more classes and new equipment. This is the best way to take it to the next level."

Krieger expects to spend more than $1 million in new equipment alone, eventually replacing all the Workouts equipment. New equipment is due to start arriving in early October.

He also plans to add a four-lane indoor lap pool, a women-only exercise room and a cardio-cinema room (where members can exercise and watch a movie). The group exercise room will be enlarged.

"Don and Mike built a pretty nice facility. It just needs a little tweaking," said Krieger.

Though all 1,200 Workouts members automatically became Gold's members, they'll pay $11 less per month. Gold's memberships cost $29 a month.

Krieger said all 15 Workouts employees have been offered jobs at Gold's. He expects the staff to reach 30 to 40 employees in the coming months.

Krieger previously operated a Gold's here when he opened a 7,000- square-foot gym in the Granite Run Corporate Center in 1989, selling it in 1997 to a group of investors.

Those investors sold the business to Anderson and Kellam in 2003, who launched the first Workouts there and in the Greenfield Corporate Center.

Workouts moved to a new building next to Golden Meadows in 2005.

Meanwhile, Krieger was trying to return to Lancaster. He discovered a way by talking to Anderson and Kellam, who had briefly considered converting Workouts to a Gold's themselves.

Krieger said the new Gold's will be unlike the old one, featuring "more equipment than Lancaster County has ever seen" and a diverse clientele.

"It will be a totally different animal," attracting women, seniors, professionals and people trying to lose weight, as well as other demographics, he said.

"We've evolved," said Krieger. "Years ago, we had the reputation of being a 'muscle gym' (a place for weightlifters and bodybuilders). Today you walk in and most of our membership is female."

Krieger, whose partner in the Lancaster franchise is his brother, Kris, of Jacksonville, Fla., has developed about 30 Gold's locations over the past 20 years.

He now owns nine others - two in York and one each in Harrisburg, Hershey, Wyomissing, Allentown, Whitehall, Bethlehem and Exeter (which is under construction).

Gold's was founded in 1965 in Venice, Calif. Today it's based in Dallas and describes itself as "the largest co-ed gym chain in the world" with 610 fitness centers in 42 states and 30 countries.

(Copyright 2008 Lancaster Newspapers. All rights reserved.)

(c) 2008 Lancaster New Era. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.