If you walk into any of the 19 Club Fitness locations in the St. Louis area, you might find that the employees’ dedication to customer experience is above average. That’s because these health clubs are completely employee-owned, in fact the only 100% employee-owned fitness club in the country. And this is all possible thanks to president and CEO, Eric Schreimann, who has been instrumental in Club Fitness’ evolution since 2015.
Eric, a former professional baseball player, started working with Club Fitness in 2013 as their commercial banker. When the founder and then-owner wanted to retire, Eric presented him with several options. Selling the company back to the employees was right fit. Eric was hired on as CFO in 2015 to prepare the company for the transition process. At the end of 2015, Club Fitness was sold to the employees and Eric stayed on to help the company evolve into what it is today. “It was a very intricate process with a lot of planning and testing,” he recalls. “It took a year to get this process across the finish line. In 2016, the evolution of the company began.” After identifying the company’s strengths, which were brand awareness and locations, Eric started looking into areas of opportunity, like member experience and setting the company apart from its competitors. “My strategy was to find leaders within, but also outside of the industry, who could bring new fresh ideas and concepts,” he says. “I recruited from services industries like retail and hospitality—people who had a great understanding of customer experience and service.”
After recruiting talented leaders, they started consolidating smaller clubs into 45,000 square foot large-box properties and built six of these super clubs between 2018 and 2019, investing over $35 million back into the company through equipment upgrades and new facilities. “Our strategy focused on the overall member experience while simultaneously providing a strong company for the employee-owners,” Eric explains. “The employees truly have a vested interest in the company as well. You go to a Club Fitness and you’re interacting with owners, not just employees, who care about the success of the company.”
Today, Eric continues to meet challenges head on. Club Fitness was greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and so Eric worked closely with the Department of Health to create a reopening plan that allowed people to come back in, while maintaining strict safety standards for members and employees. He also led the company to become a member of the Medical Fitness Association and partnered with local medical communities for a holistic approach to wellness. “The future of fitness is all-encompassing health and wellness,” he says. This means that besides fitness, they work with healthy food companies, host seminars on a wide range of health issues, and offer physical therapy options. “We are not just a place to come and run on a treadmill; when you come to Club Fitness, you get the full package.” And that full-package mindset applies to the community, too, and they support and work with many local organizations to give back. We pride ourselves on ‘lifting local’ by lifting our employees, our members and our communities to healthier and happier lives.”.”
President & CEO — Club Fitness
LinkedIn: Eric Schreimann