Some short history of how I moved North…
I started working out at a gym near where I grew up, way back when… Coming home for the summers from college, I started training with a guy (John) on the mornings I went. One day he asked me what I wanted to do when I “grew up”? I said I would like to do something in the fitness industry. NOW… I went to Loyola to study business, HATED IT!! Changed to psychology, UM NO!! So, I decided on communication. Think it was easy, THINK AGAIN!! A few summers went by and I didn’t see (John) working out at Powerhouse anymore… Saddened, but I still went 🙂 I graduated Loyola University with a communication degree. A year of subbing at my high school and coaching soccer, I decided to go back to school to get my education degree. On to a community college and then on to Elmhurst College. Fast forward… Right before I was to start my student teaching, my work out friend comes back into my life. He found me, and asks if I would like to be a part of opening up a gym in Northern Illinois. I decide to follow my dream, and go North. I knew education would always be there, the gym opportunity would not. Fast forward again… Three years later, I went back into teaching, but I would NEVER forget the experience from the gym, the people I met, and the lessens I learned. 3 VERY BIG LESSONS!!!
1. Separate business from pleasure… Need I say more??
2. Keep your eye on the prize… 4 people started with myself and (John). For whatever reason, the other 2 left. When we opened the gym, it was just (John) and I left from the original 4, and a cast of great employees he allowed me to hire. Believe me, I wanted to leave just like 2 of the original did… But, I new things were to get better in the near future. Stay true to yourself and be loyal to the people that believe in you. Have thick skin, because NOT everyone will like you. Did (John) and I always see eye to eye, NOPE, but we hung in TOGETHER and made it TOGETHER to see the doors open. Success happens in numbers and surround yourself with a great core of people. Get rid of the rest.
3. Be legit and on the up and up with your business practices. I can recall spending my money to go to gyms either with green bills or my parents would sign me up for the full amount with their credit card. Then the gym would end up closing their doors and I was out my money without a refund. Yes, that still happens, but now it has been alleviated with people using the credit card option for payment. Although, there are still flaws and problems with that.
Bring me to Friday, May 3, 2013… Sorry to those that have read this previously. But, I added more….
Late on Wednesday evening, I found out from an FB friend that Cardinal Fitness RLB closed their doors. They had a great run and a TON of fantastic members, managers, and employees. It makes me sad to hear because Lyn Buddy Brown Junior became my friend, but was also instrumental in allowing me to perfect my craft as a personal trainer. It was back when I managed a different gym, and I was working out at Cardinal that Lyn told me I should get certified as a trainer. He said he would have a spot for me when I was finished. I got certified and the rest is history.
Did Lyn and I always see eye to eye on things? Hell no!! Did we have our ups and downs, Hell yes!!! But what family and friends ALWAYS agree??? NONE!!! We kept our nose to the grindstone and we did what we had to do. I want to THANK Lyn for that opportunity and the others from Cardinal that helped me along the way.
That being said… The other gym in the area, (has the same name as a city in California and ends with “ness”) I will always break bad on regardless if I am business owner in the same industry. I experienced their shady business practices when I was a member there and also when they recruited me to work for them. Example: I followed their procedures to cancel my membership: sending a printout cancellation form to corporate. I would get deducted another month per their rules, and I would be done. I can live by that, and it was fair. I followed that, but they continued to deduct my credit card. I had to redo the whole process and they thought they could deduct more and get away with it. Needless to say, I would have none of it. LESSON: Follow up, check your bank statements, and OH yeah people, emails/text messages are NOT ways to cancel a membership…
Maybe things have changed at the “ness” gym but I doubt it. They probably continue to have their customer appreciation nights with DJ’s, and pizza parties, or dirty locker rooms, and a bacteria infested pool. Great way to promote healthy lifestyles!!! BUT, to sit right outside the door of Cardinal Fitness or any other gym to sell your memberships is a disgrace, and tasteless. NOW, if this was pre-arranged with Lyn, I can see your actions. I doubt it was because their would have been information left on the door, or other notification. You are like vultures hovering over its dead prey. Let the dust settle… These actions are what give the fitness industry a bad name in some respects. “Poaching” members is NOT good business. I have heard other trainers boast about how they train at other gyms in order to bring those members to their fitness studios. Not my practice! I ran into a few members of Cardinal when I went to see if Lyn was around at all. The ladies were very upset, which I can understand. I explained to them Lyn gave me my start, but I felt funny telling them from their questioning, I currently own a fitness facility. I told them to check their bank statements to see if they were deducted for their monthly dues from Cardinal. I answered some of their questions they had for me and I told them to shop around for a new place to train before they contacted me. Would I like them to train with me or at my place, OF COURSE. BUT, I want it to be a good fit for them and me. If they contact me and say they feel more comfortable elsewhere, then good luck to them and I will help them how I can. I know I can’t serve everyone, nor will everyone like me, but I want to serve my current people, my target market, and make then as happy as I can.
MORAL: BE AWARE PEEPS… Think what you want, because you all have free will… BUT I ask that you educate yourself. This gym is just selling people memberships and making their quota and NOT SELLING RESULTS. They want to sell you a membership in hopes that you come for 90 days and then NEVER again regardless of what they say. YES, I want to make money as well, but I want to engage people and help them reach their goals. The “ness” gym will sell you, shake your hand, pat you on the back, tell you to contact them for assistance, and send you on your way to fend for yourself. I have seen it first hand because I was a member there. I am truly disgusted and will NEVER stoop to that level. I pride myself on serving people and helping them reach their goals. I don’t and NEVER will be in competition with them, nor do I want to be. People will decide where they want to find fitness. I hope they come to realize they are being “taken” because, again: “ness”gym banks on people paying and NOT coming. That’s how they roll people!!!