CALIFORNIA Fitness, which has established numerous fitness clubs in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan since 1996, is targeting to become the largest fitness chain in Malaysia within the next three years.
“Our goal is to open eight or more fitness clubs in Malaysia by 2008. This goal is highly dependent on our existing team's ability to recruit the desired people to drive our business ahead,” its president Steve Clinefelter told StarBiz in Kuala Lumpur.
The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, has 324 fitness outlets worldwide.
California Fitness has successfully expanded its fitness club business into Malaysia through the opening its first Malaysian outlet at the Mid Valley Megamall in February.
“We see great potential in expanding our business throughout Asia within the next 10 years,” Clinefelter said.
The company invests between US$4mil and US$5mil to set up a new outlet.
He said California Fitness has established itself as the top fitness centre brand in Asia and plans to maintain its lead position.
“We are in the midst of planning and constructing our second club in Malaysia,” he said, adding that the club would be located at the Standard Chartered Building in Kuala Lumpur.
It is scheduled for opening in June or July.
California Fitness has appointed local company Axis Identity Group to design the interior of its clubs in Malaysia.
Clinefelter said the company is aiming for its clubs to become “the place to be in” for the local community.
“We want to make people feel welcomed and enjoy themselves at our outlets. That will make them want to visit us more,” he said.
He said more people were leading sedentary lifestyles and spending more time at work place. Home will be the second place of choice after the work place.
“We want to become the third place of choice for people to spend their time. As such, we are putting in a lot of effort to make our clubs into fun and energetic places to be in,” he said.
Clinefelter said California Fitness' target customers are people between the ages of 25 and 40.
California Fitness sets itself apart from its competitors through its “phase pricing” incentive where potential members can join at low prices even before the outlet has been established.
Those who joined later will have to pay a higher price.
He said consumers are always looking for a good package and that price remained a key component in securing customers.
“However, in California Fitness, we believe that the key is not only the price, but also the end result for the individual.
“We want to change people's lives through fitness. Therefore, we train our staff to know the significance of fitness,” he said.
Clinefelter also said the company has its own “university” to provide leadership and skills training for its staff.
“We focus primarily on fitness education and place emphasis on customer service training.
“Staff development is the most vital part of the company's strategy for growth,” he added.