Aug. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Planet Fitness, the health club company whose low prices and hassle-free atmosphere have struck a chord with consumers, is being honored in the September issue of Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America.
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Planet Fitness finished number 471 on the lnc. 500, which ranks the nation's top private businesses based on revenue growth between 2005 and 2008. In that period, Planet Fitness' revenues grew from $15.2 million to $99.4 million -- an increase of 551 percent.
"It's been a perfect storm for Planet Fitness," said chief executive officer Michael Grondahl. "Consumers today are looking for ways to save money, and we're the low-price leader. We've changed the paradigm in the health club industry."
Planet Fitness, which has 280 locations in 31 states, has achieved its growth by defying conventional wisdom -- and by perfecting a high-value/low-cost model that focuses on the needs of occasional or first-time health club members rather than hard-core fitness fanatics.
Prices at Planet Fitness are extremely low -- just $10 to $19.99 a month. Besides the unbeatable value, Planet Fitness stands apart from other health clubs by providing a relaxed atmosphere. This includes a low tolerance for bodybuilders -- a Lunk Alarm discourages boorish behavior -- and a commitment to helping people of various fitness levels.
In the United States, nearly 2 million Planet Fitness members have embraced the company's Judgment Free Zone(R) philosophy.
Planet Fitness began to take shape in 1992, when Grondahl and his brother Marc acquired a financially struggling gym in Dover, N.H., and dramatically reduced prices to try to compete against better-financed and better-known brands. Membership sales took off. Chris Rondeau soon joined the business, and the trio spent several years refining a business model geared toward the 85 percent of the population that doesn't typically join health clubs.
Planet Fitness consisted of just four locations in New Hampshire when it began franchising in 2003. That triggered a rapid national expansion, and today no other gym operator competes in the same niche or offers a comparable value.