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CURVES Rated a Worst Franchise by Forbes. Do You Agree?

May 29, 2014

The Curves franchise was rated one of the worst franchise opportunities in America by Forbes magazine.

Do you agree that Curves is one of the worst franchises of 2014? 

Why or why not?

Please share a comment below.

See all our FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

Also read:  CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee [UPDATED]

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  The June 16, 2014 issue of Forbes magazine features their picks for America’s Best And Worst Franchises.

The Curves franchise made the Forbes list of the worst franchise opportunities in the 0 – $150,000 investment range.

The Forbes ranking for Curves included the following assessment:

No. 7 Curves

Offers strength-training and weight-loss sessions for women, as well as meal plans and apparel.

Average Initial Investment: $48,663

Initial Training Hours: 15-38

Growth rate: –18%

Continuity: 39%

Franchisor Support: C

Here are the rest of Forbes worst franchises:

Forbes Worst Franchises with 0 – $150,000 Investments

(With #1 being the worst)

#1  SuperCoups

Concept: Franchisees send coupons to consumers, direct-mails ads for small businesses.

#2 Realty World

Concept: Franchisees sell residential properties and offers online tools and mortgage options to home buyers.

#3 Parable

Concept: Franchisees retail Christian-themed merchandise like books and music.

#4 UBuildIt

Concept: Franchisees help manage a remodeling job or new construction with its own team on-site.

#5 Aero Colours

Concept: Franchisees offer paint, bumper and bedliner repair for cars and trucks, with a traveling unit that makes house calls.

#6 All Tune and Lube

Concept: Franchisees provide tire, engine, transmission and general auto maintenance at its locations.

#7 Curves

Concept: Franchisees offer strength-training and weight-loss sessions for women, as well as meal plans and apparel.

#8 House Doctors

Concept: Franchisees deliver handyman services, from small-scale fixes to full-blown home remodeling.

#9 ERA Real Estate

Concept: Franchisees walk clients through buying and selling a home, finding an agent and a mortgage.

#10 Fastframe

Concept: Franchisees build custom frames and mats for photos, artwork, mirrors and flat-screen TVs.

See all Forbes Worst Franchises here:

America’s Best And Worst Franchises

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE CURVES FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY?  DO YOU THINK IT’S ONE OF THE WORST FRANCHISES… OR NOT? SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

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TAGS: Curves, Curves franchise, Curves franchise complaints, Worst franchise, Forbes Worst franchises, franchise, franchising, Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES Prepares for Negative Forbes Story

May 25, 2014

by Sean Kelly ,UnhappyFranchisee.Com

Curves International is bracing itself for a negative franchise story expected to appear on Forbes.Com as early as Tuesday, and to appear in the print edition of Forbes magazine the first week of June, 2014.

Curves and its private equity investor North Castle Partners appear to be battening down the hatches and donning their damage control garb in anticipation of the worst.

They sent an email to their franchisees and managers (see full text below) warning them to direct media inquiries to their PR team.

Curves PR team will likely react to media inquiries with the same level of transparency and candor as is reflected in their prepared statement for members:

“At Curves, we are proud of our standing as the world’s largest chain of fitness centers for women.  We are committed to providing high-quality, personalized programs and solutions for our members while supporting our franchisees and positioning them for success.”

UnhappyFranchisee.Com: Hosting Curves Franchise Complaints Since 2006

UnhappyFranchisee.Com (and our predecessor FranchisePick.Com) has been  home to insider Curves franchise discussions and news since 2006.

You can see an index of our posts here:  Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

One post has more than 1300 comments: CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story

UnhappyFranchisee.Com has provided Curves franchisees with a forum to exchange information, ideas and mutual support throughout the painful decline and failures of thousands of franchise locations.

We have published more than 50 posts on Curves, and generated thousands of complaints from failed and failing Curves franchisees.

In 2005, Curves peaked with 7800 U.S. franchise locations.  By the end of 2012 that number had declined more than 60% to just 2854 U.S. franchise locations.

See:  CURVES: The Rise & Painful Fall of the Curves Franchise Chain

Curves Franchise Owners Allege Corporate Indifference to Franchisee Suffering

Since 2006, franchisees have complained that Curves International turned a blind eye to their struggles and inability to compete in the marketplace with an outdated, uncompetitive fitness model.

Franchisees complained that once their franchises failed, founder Gary Heavin’s “Christian” company subjected them to coldhearted, brutal collection tactics to extract “failure fees” even after they had lost everything.

More recently, the franchisee survivors complain that new owner North Castle Partners has imposed unreasonable new conditions and required them to make burdensome and costly changes.

Additionally, franchisees have complained that North Castle Partners (which recently acquired Jenny Craig weight loss chain) is forcing Curves owners to go into the weight loss industry – without their input or approval.

Damage Control Email from Curves International to Curves Franchisees & Managers

Last week, Curves franchisees report that they received this email from Curves International:

Dear Franchisees,

Within the next week, we expect Forbes (a business publication) will publish an article about Curves International, Inc. and we want to share the details with you upfront.

A reporter from Forbes contacted us for input as he was crafting a story on Curves.  His article was driven by contacting some franchisees – former and current – who regularly complain in an online forum.  While this is not a story we actively pursued ourselves, we provided our point of view and also put the reporter in touch with several franchisees who shared their positive experiences with Curves.  This reporter also interviewed the appropriate executive from North Castle Partners, as well as Monty Sharma.

We anticipate the article will be posted online next week Tuesday or Wednesday and will appear in the print edition of the magazine the first week of June.  Based on our ongoing conversations with the reporter, we believe the article will have a negative slant.

Should you receive inquiries on the subject from the news media please direct the news media to PR@Curves.com and do not respond yourself as this messaging should be handled at the corporate level.  For Curves members, please use the following prepared statement:

“At Curves, we are proud of our standing as the world’s largest chain of fitness centers for women.  We are committed to providing high-quality, personalized programs and solutions for our members while supporting our franchisees and positioning them for success.”

We want to point out the positive media coverage our PR team has secured thus far in 2014 that drives home the message to our target consumer that Curves works and is highly relevant in a competitive landscape.  Media coverage includes weight loss success stories on the TODAY Show and in magazines like Prevention, Family Circle and Woman’s Day.  For Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels, we have been prominently featured in outlets such as the TODAY Show, Rachael Ray, Wendy Williams, PEOPLE magazine, Extra, Access Hollywood online, the Daily Buzz, The Insider – and many more.

We want you to know that we continue to be committed to the success of the Curves brand and to the success of your business.  We are continually looking for ways to make improvements and value your input.  Please feel free to contact us directly to share your comments or questions at membercomments@curves.com.

Best regards,

Curves International

I was interviewed for the Forbes story by Forbes writer Karsten Strauss, as was attorneyJonathan Fortman who is representing multiple Curves franchisees in litigation against the franchisor.

We also expect an online story highlighting the franchise buying advice gleaned from the experiences of UnhappyFranchisee.Com contributors.

Check back for our updates as the Curves story breaks.

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES & THE CURVES FRANCHISE?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

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TAGS: Curves, Curves International, Curves franchise, Curves lawsuit, Curves class action lawsuit, Curves failures, Curves complaints, North Castle Partners, Monty Sharma, Jenny Craig, Fitness franchise, Jon Fortman, Sean Kelly, Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee [UPDATED]

May 25, 2014

Curves posts on UnhappyFranchisee.Com provides and index of links to our stories and discussions of the Curves franchise program from the franchisee’s point-of-view.

Unhappy Franchisee has been following Curves International and the issues facing Curves franchise owners since 2008. Prior to that we published Curves news and hosted discussions on FranchisePick.com (now archived at EveryJoe.com).

 

Curves Franchise:  Latest Posts

CURVES Prepares for Negative Forbes Story  May 25, 2014

CURVES: The Rise & Painful Fall of the Curves Franchise Chain[UPDATED]

 

Curves Franchise:  Most Commented Posts

CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story   March 10, 2009 (1300+ Comments)

CURVES: Negotiating the $10,000 Closing Fee October 12, 2009 (149 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Business Broker Slams Curves Franchise and Franchisor November 15, 2008 (129 Comments)

CURVES DISCUSSION: Benefits of a Franchisee Lawsuit? August 18, 2008 (78 Comments)

 

Curves Franchise:  2013 Posts

CURVES Monty Sharma’s WTF? Email to Curves Franchisees about Jenny Craig Acquisition

CURVES: North Castle Partners Press Release on Jenny Craig Acquisition

CURVES Owner North Castle Partners Acquires Jenny Craig  

 

Curves Franchise: 2012 Curves Posts

CurvesCURVES: The Rise & Painful Fall of the Curves Franchise Chain  June 19, 2012

CURVES Sold? Gary Heavin Out?   July 27, 2012

CURVES: Say Goodbye to Gary Heavin! August 8, 2012

CURVES Franchise: Curves Still Bullying Failed Franchise Owners September 18, 2012

CURVES AUSTRALIA Franchise Complaints February 22, 2012

Did CURVES President Mike Raymond Get Pruned? February 16, 2012

CURVES: Why Did the Curves Franchisee Association Fail? (Part 1) February 2, 2012  

 

Curves Franchise: 2011 Posts

Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire: What do CURVES Franchisees Think?   March 1, 2011

 

Curves Franchise: 2010 Posts

Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire: What do CURVES Franchisees Think?  March 1, 2011

Has CURVES Become the “Trailer Park of Gyms”? November 30, 2010

CURVES Franchise Lawsuit Settlements  September 30, 2010

CURVES International 2010 Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)  September 29, 2010

CURVES Franchise Owners React to Comments That They’re Being “Pruned”  July 10, 2010 (33 Comments)

CURVES: 1000 Franchise Clubs Failed Last Year  July 8, 2010

Failure Rates of the 10 Most Popular Franchises April 26, 2010

CURVES: 5 West Virginia Curves Close Abruptly February 22, 2010 (3 Comments)

CURVES: Should Failed Franchises be Resold? March 31, 2010 (33 Comments)

CURVES: Can Indie Clubs Thrive Where Curves Failed?   January 19, 2010 (64 Comments)

CURVES Franchisee Regrets Not Sticking It to Others   January 7, 2010 (39 Comments)

 

Curves Franchise: 2009 Curves Posts

CURVES: Complaints of Unauthorized Membership Charges November 18, 2009 (7 Comments)

CURVES: “Another Curves nightmare. Please advise!” November 10, 2009 (7 Comments)

CURVES: Franchise Resale Complaints, Comments October 31, 2009 (1 Comments)

CURVES: Franchise Resale Buyer Alleges Fraud October 31, 2009 (1 Comments)

CURVES: In Oregon, Curves Franchises Die Alone October 18, 2009 (1 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Advice on Buying a Franchise Resale February 24, 2009 (15 Comments)

 

Curves Franchise: 2008 Curves Posts

Curves Franchisee Blames Economy for Closing  December 21, 2008 (1 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Nearly Half The Palm Beach Clubs Have Closed  November 15, 2008 (17 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Franchisee a Victim of Fraud? September 14, 2008 (22 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: Is McCord Brokers Required for Resales? August 13, 2008 (3 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: An Unhappy Franchisee Tale  August 13, 2008 (6 Comments)

CURVES FOR WOMEN: UFOC dated March, 2008 June 23, 2008 (0 Comments)

Another Curves Shuts Down Abruptly June 14, 2008 (1 Comments)

Cape Girardeau Curves Franchise Closes  June 10, 2008 (0 Comments)

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES & THE CURVES FRANCHISE?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

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TAGS: Curves, Curves International, Curves franchise, Curves lawsuit, Curves class action lawsuit, Curves failures, Curves complaints, North Castle Partners, Monty Sharma, Gary Heavin, Diane Heavin, Fitness franchise, Sean Kelly, Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES Monty Sharma’s WTF? Email to Curves Franchisees about Jenny Craig Acquisition

November 8, 2013

Curves franchise owners are trying to figure out what impact their parent North Castle Partner’s acquisition of Jenny Craig will have on them.

UnhappyFranchisee.com posted news of the acquisition here:  CURVES Owner North Castle Partners Acquires Jenny Craig and the company press release here: CURVES: North Castle Partners Press Release on Jenny Craig Acquisition.

Curves CEO & President Monty Sharma sent this email to Curves franchisees sharing his excitement regarding the acquisition.

Curves franchisees are trying to figure out what the excitement is about.  Or what this even means.

Sharma makes seemingly contradictory statements that have left many scratching their heads.

First, he states “North Castle Partners also announced its plans to merge Jenny Craig and Curves International to create a one-of-a-kind wellness company that offers consumers an array of diet and fitness tools to meet their individual and varying preferred weight loss needs.”

So it sounds as if Curves franchisees will be able to offer Jenny Craig products and services in their clubs.

Than Sharma states:  “Our plans are to operate these two businesses separately and independently since they appeal to different consumer segments.”

WTF?

Hasn’t North Castle has been forcing Curves franchisees to implement a Curves weight loss program?

Does this mean that North Castle has just acquired a direct competitor of Curves?

Isn’t “Women who want to lose weight” a single – and the same – consumer segment?

If someone can make heads or tails of what’s happening here – and what it means to Curves International franchisees and Jenny Craig operators, please leave a comment below.

Email from Monty Sharma:

Dear Franchisee Partner,


I am excited to share with you that this morning North Castle Partners announced the acquisition of Jenny Craig from Nestle. Jenny Craig is a leading brand in weight management with centers across North America, Australia and New Zealand.


North Castle Partners also announced its plans to merge Jenny Craig and Curves International to create a one-of-a-kind wellness company that offers consumers an array of diet and fitness tools to meet their individual and varying preferred weight loss needs.


Our plans are to operate these two businesses separately and independently since they appeal to different consumer segments.  However, we believe there are many things the Curves system can benefit from over time through this merger. We will combine the companies [sic] back end operations to create best in class process and support to you our franchisee partner while looking for ways the two brands can benefit from each other.


Closing of the transaction is expected in a few weeks and thereafter we will begin the work of the merger. As the teams from Jenny Craig and Curves begins to work alongside each other we will keep you updated via the quarterly action group meetings.


I look forward to seeing you this week or next at the Regional Meetings to share with you all the exciting developments and new programs we are launching at Curves for 2014 and the years ahead.


Best regards,

Monty Sharma

Curves CEO and President

Also read:

CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story (1100+ comments)

JENNY CRAIG Consumer Complaints

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES, NORTH CASTLE PARTNERS, OR JENNY CRAIG?

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OPINION BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Curves, Curves International, North Castle Partners, Jenny Craig, Monty Sharma, Curves buys Jenny Craig, Curves franchise, curves franchisees

CURVES: North Castle Partners Press Release on Jenny Craig Acquisition

November 8, 2013

Curves International parent North Castle Partners issued this press release regarding its acquisition of Jenny Craig diet chain.

UnhappyFranchisee.com posted news of the acquisition here:  CURVES Owner North Castle Partners Acquires Jenny Craig.

Curves franchisees are trying to assess how this will impact them and their businesses.

North Castle Partners has been requiring Curves franchisees to implement the Curves weight loss program.

This press release does little to clear up the confusion.

Has Curves just gained an ally and marketing partner in Jenny Craig, or a competitor with access to all of their information, plans and data?

North Castle Partners to Acquire Jenny Craig from Nestle

Jenny Craig to Be Combined with Curves International, Creating a One-of-a Kind Wellness Company Offering Consumers Array of Diet and Fitness Tools to Meet Individual Needs

Investment Extends North Castle’s Presence in the Weight Management Industry

Jenny Craig, Greenwich, CT – November 7, 2013

North Castle Partners today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Jenny Craig, an iconic brand in the weight loss industry, from Nestlé. North Castle is a leading private equity firm focused exclusively on Health, Wellness and Active Living companies. The terms of the investment, which is expected to close later this month, were not disclosed.

“We are very excited to bring Jenny Craig into the North Castle family and to continue its 30-year tradition of providing consumers with dedicated one-on-one coaching and great tasting, clinically proven food to support their weight loss goals. As a firm focused exclusively on consumer businesses that promote Health, Wellness, and Active Living, we were able to draw upon substantial experience from our current and prior investments in the weight loss, nutrition and fitness industries to evaluate the Jenny Craig opportunity and develop an investment plan that will revitalize the company,” said Chip Baird, North Castle’s Founder and Managing Partner.

North Castle will combine Jenny Craig with Curves International creating a one-of-a kind wellness company that offers consumers an array of diet and fitness tools to meet their individual needs. North Castle acquired Curves International in August 2012.

“The Jenny Craig and Curves brands will continue to operate independently and provide health, fitness and weight loss solutions to different consumer segments,” said Jon Canarick, North Castle Managing Director. “We believe the two brands give us a unique opportunity to meet the distinct needs of consumers and provide an unmatched consumer value proposition.”

Upon completion of the transaction, Monty Sharma, the current chief executive officer of Curves, will become President and CEO of the combined Jenny Craig and Curves business. “I am excited to partner with North Castle in combining these two iconic brands,” said Mr. Sharma. “When North Castle approached me about potentially integrating Curves with Jenny Craig, I immediately recognized that such a transaction would allow us to leverage the strengths and resources of each of these businesses to enhance the experience and results we provide to our members. Curves has made inroads into weight management with our Curves Complete program, but putting Curves together with Jenny Craig will bring our total business to a new level and allow us to offer consumers all of the tools they need. Jenny Craig has volumes of science and the best-trained coaches in the industry. I believe strongly in the importance of a one-on-one coach for consumers on a weight loss journey and that is something both brands offer today.”

In partnership with North Castle and Curves founders Gary and Diane Heavin, Mr. Sharma has been executing a plan to revitalize the Curves brand under the premise that Curves is uniquely positioned to offer both nutrition planning and strength training – the two most critical components to long-term weight loss success – under one roof. The revitalization of Curves is well underway in its first year with the company planning to launch many new consumer-based initiatives in the next few months. Among other things, Curves has taken great steps to enhance its core fitness offering and, in a separate announcement today, introduced a new partnership with Jillian Michaels, the celebrity fitness trainer and health and wellness expert. Ms. Michaels is designing group exercise programs to be done in the famous Curves circuit.

“We are very optimistic about the future of the combined company and will work in partnership with management to leverage our knowledge and network across the weight loss, nutrition and fitness industries from our current and prior investments in Atkins, Equinox, World Health Club, EAS and Naked Juice,” concluded Mr. Canarick.

ABOUT NORTH CASTLE PARTNERS

North Castle Partners is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in consumer-driven product and service businesses that promote Health, Wellness, and Active Living. North Castle is a hands-on, value-added investor in high-growth, middle market companies in the (i) beauty & personal care, (ii) consumer health, (iii) fitness, recreation & sports, (iv) home & leisure and (v) nutrition sectors, among others. North Castle’s current portfolio includes such well-known brands as Curves International, Palladio Beauty Group, Mineral Fusion, Red Door Spas, Performance Bicycles, World Health, Octane Fitness, Ibex Outdoor Clothing, Contigo, and Flatout Flatbreads.

Prior portfolio company holdings include Atkins Nutritionals, Cascade Helmets, Bora-Bora Organic Foods, gloProfessional, Equinox Fitness, EAS, Enzymatic Therapy, CRC Health Group, Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula, Naked Juice Company, and Avalon Organics / Alba Botanicals. North Castle and its operating executives and advisors partner with management to bring a wide range of strategic and operational capabilities, as well as an extensive knowledge base and network to build world-class companies. North Castle is headquartered in Greenwich, CT. For more information, visit www.northcastlepartners.com.

ABOUT JENNY CRAIG

Jenny Craig’s program is designed to help you manage your weight by creating a healthy relationship with food, building a fun, active lifestyle and developing a balanced approach to living. Our mantra is: Eat Well. Move More. Live Life.

Our model is like no other weight loss company out there. Jenny provides a weekly personal consultation that is tailored to you. We teach portion control, provide motivational techniques for stressful situations like social gatherings and dining out, and provide fun ways to incorporate daily activity. Jenny’s nutritionists work with food scientists to create more than 80 delicious Jenny’s Cuisine™ menu items. Jenny’s program is available in-center and our at-home program, Jenny Craig At Home for easy access, whenever, wherever!

Jenny Craig is one of the world’s largest weight management companies, with more than 600 company-owned and franchised centers in the United States, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. Jenny Craig is celebrating their 30th Birthday in 2013.

ABOUT CURVES

Curves International, Inc. is the largest chain of fitness centers for women in the world and is famous for its 30-minute Circuit with a Coach that works every major muscle group with strength training, cardio and stretching. With Curves Complete, women have a fully integrated, personalized weight loss and weight management solution that includes the Curves fitness program, a customizable meal plan and one-on-one coaching and support. Backed by extensive research, Curves Complete has been shown to reduce fat, increase lean muscle, boost metabolism and help dieters lose weight and maintain weight loss. Each Curves Complete Coach has completed a certification program developed in conjunction with Cleveland Clinic, one of the most respected hospitals in the country. Curves is committed to providing women with the tools necessary to empower them to live more fulfilling lives. For more information please visit curves.com.

Also read:

CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story (1100+ comments)

JENNY CRAIG Consumer Complaints

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES, NORTH CASTLE PARTNERS, OR JENNY CRAIG?

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OPINION BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Curves, Curves International, North Castle Partners, Jenny Craig, Monty Sharma, Curves buys Jenny Craig, Curves franchise, curves franchisees

CURVES Owner North Castle Partners Acquires Jenny Craig

November 8, 2013

North Castle Partners to acquire most of the Jenny Craig diet chain and combine it with its Curves fitness clubs for women.

(Unhappy Franchisee) According to Bloomsburg, Nestle SA has agreed to sell most of its Jenny Craig diet business to Curves International parent company North Castle Partners for an undisclosed amount.

According to the Bloomsburg article:

Nestle will divest Jenny Craig in North America, Australia and New Zealand, the Swiss company said today in a statement. The price was probably less than the approximately $600 million Nestle paid in 2006, analysts at Natixis and SNS Securities said. The French business isn’t part of the transaction with the Greenwich, Connecticut-based private-equity firm, which will combine Jenny Craig with its Curves fitness clubs for women.

Eddy Hargreaves, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity in London, wrote that the brand has been a “perennial underperformer” and “been a drag on overall North American performance in recent years.”

The article states:

Jenny Craig has suffered as dieters shift to newer weight-loss remedies and cut spending, so the business has exited the U.K. and closed diet centers in the U.S. Analysts Pierre Tegner at Natixis and Richard Withagen at SNS Securities both said North Castle probably paid less than Nestle’s purchase price seven years ago.

Jenny Craig’s net annual sales were probably less than 400 million Swiss francs ($439 million), Natixis estimated…

The news will no doubt come as a shock to the struggling Curves franchise owners who regularly speak out on UnhappyFranchisee.com’s Curves Complaint Board.

North Castle’s combination of Jenny Craig with Curves International, a fitness club chain it acquired last year, will offer nutrition planning and strength training “under one roof,” the company said in a statement. Monty Sharma, CEO of Waco, Texas-based Curves, will run the business.

“Putting Curves together with Jenny Craig will bring our total business to a new level and allow us to offer consumers all of the tools they need,” Sharma said in the statement.

North Castle focuses on health and wellness businesses with revenue ranging from $10 million to $200 million, according to its website. It also owns Red Door Spas and Performance Bicycles.

The new owners will offer employment to Jenny Craig’s workers, Nestle said. Jenny Craig employs 3,000 people, according to company spokesman Robin Tickle.

One question of many: How does North Castle plan to “offer employment to Jenny Craig’s workers” when it is Curves franchisees who employ the vast majority of the Curves workforce?

Also read:

CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story (1100+ comments)

JENNY CRAIG Consumer Complaints

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CURVES, NORTH CASTLE PARTNERS, OR JENNY CRAIG?

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OPINION BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Curves, Curves International, North Castle Partners, Jenny Craig, Monty Sharma, Curves buys Jenny Craig, Curves franchise, curves franchisees

CURVES Franchise: Curves Still Bullying Failed Franchise Owners

September 18, 2012

CURVES franchise owners don’t get a helping hand when they fail. No thank you card or best wishes.   Just legal threats and a demand for tens of thousands of dollars.

Curves has new ownership, but not much has changed in the lack-of-compassion department.

Curves franchise owners who are unable to save their failing clubs (more than half of Curves clubs have failed) still should not expect a helping hand from Curves International.

They shouldn’t expect a nice letter thanking them for building the Curves brand, for paying years of royalties, for enabling Gary Heavin to strut like an altruistic peacock on national TV and cash out with an untold fortune.

What they can expect is a legal demand for the future royalties they would have had to pay if they hadn’t run out of money and could stay open to the end of their contract.

And they can expect Curves International to tell them they don’t actually own the equipment they paid for, and they should return it.

aussie z wrote:

Well I closed my club at the end of June, 4 years prior to the end of my agreement.

I did everything that CI wanted me to do in regards to closing.

I did not give them my equipment or CS [Curves Smart]I figured that I paid good money for it so I will do what I want with it.

I received a letter of demand for $64,000 to be paid within 7 days (what a joke).

I asked them to review this amount as I had no money, I then got another email telling me the figure was now $17,000, again I explained that I had no money and then a month later I got a letter delivered to my home signed by a person I have never heard of in the 6 years I have been dealing with Curves (must be from the new people who have taken over) telling me that I owe $64,000 again.

I sent an email to this person and have not heard anything since, it has now been a month since I received that letter.

I know that this will not be the last I hear from them but they will not be getting a red cent out of me. The restraints they put on you regarding getting rid of the equipment is ridiculous, there is no brand name on the equipment so what right do they have?

If they want my CS they can pay me the $12,000 I paid for it. I will not let CI bully me into anything and I will help anyone else who is being bullied by them. They need to be stopped.

In Australia we have gone from over 400 clubs in 2006 to 283 in 2012 with still many in the process of closing. I think that Curves has run its course over here and I would encourage any owner who has a profitable club to try and get rid of it before its too late. CI are putting to much emphasis on Curves Complete, I personally think it is a rip off. None of the members I had would have been able to afford the $199-$299.

I am so stressless since closing my club BUT I do miss my incredible members everyday.

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CURVES: Say Goodbye to Gary Heavin!

August 8, 2012

CURVES SOLD!  Say Goodbye to Gary Heavin.

Read more

CURVES Sold? Gary Heavin Out?

July 27, 2012

CURVES Sold? Gary Heavin Out?

Curves franchise owners and UnhappyFranchisee.com long for the day when we publish that headline with exclamation points instead of question marks.

According to a report by Stuart Goldman on the Club Industry website, Curves International is close to an equity deal with North Castle Partners. 

According to the Curves franchise owners and former franchise owners who have posted more than 1000 Curves franchise complaints on UnhappyFranchisee.com, a deal can’t close fast enough.

Speaking of closing fast, more than half of the franchisee-owned Curves U.S. locations have closed in the last few years.  (Read: CURVES: The Rise & Painful Fall of the Curves Franchise Chain)

Curves franchisees complain that they have suffered brutal and callous treatment at the hands of Curves International.  Rather than lending assistance or even compassion, devastated Curves franchise owners complain, the supposedly Christian Curves International turned loose law firm/collection agency attack dogs to demand final payments from failed franchisees.  Curves franchisees were not allowed to sell their equipment, but were forced to return, donate or destroy it by CI.

It’s been alleged that Curves management repeatedly rubbed salt in the wounds of their many failed franchise owners. 

As franchisees fought for survival, past-President Mike Raymond told the Wall Street Journal the widespread failures were part of a strategy to “prune” the Curves system. (Read: CURVES Franchise Owners React to Comments That They’re Being “Pruned)

When confronted with the high SBA loan default rate from Curves franchise investments, founder and CEO Gary Heavin blamed greedy franchisees and “the overpriced resales of franchises between third parties.”

As their franchisees struggled to save their homes and savings and fight off bankruptcy, Gary and Diane Heavin publicized their Christian philanthropy by appearing on the national tv show Secret Millionaire (Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire: What do CURVES Franchisees Think?)

Curves Sale Negotiations in the “Final Stages.”

According to Club Industry:

Curves International, Waco, TX, says it is close to an equity deal agreement with private-equity firm North Castle Partners.

Curves CEO Gary Heavin says negotiations surrounding the transaction are in the final stages.

“North Castle and Curves are working closely together as the investment becomes finalized,” Heavin said in a statement released to Club Industry. “We will send out a notice to inform everyone when the transaction is official and follow up with details about upcoming changes shortly after that.”

Terms of the pending transaction were not disclosed.

North Castle Partners, Greenwich, CT, is a firm focused on the health, wellness and active living sector. Its investments range from $10 million to $200 million. Included in its portfolio are equipment manufacturer Octane Fitness, Brooklyn Park, MN, and Canadian clubs World Health and Spa Lady.

How the deal would affect the company roles of Heavin and his wife, Diane, who co-founded Curves in 1992, is unknown. Full details regarding any changes in the corporate structure will be released when the deal is finalized, according to the company.

Read all about Curves International here:  CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE CURVES FRANCHISE OR CURVES INTERNATIONAL?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

CURVES: Negotiating Curves Closing Fees

June 20, 2012

CURVES franchise: Negotiating Curves Closing Fees

Struggling, failing and soon-to-close Curves franchise owners seek information and advice from Unhappy Franchisee on how to handle the demands Curves International is placing on them.    One of the frequent topics is the club closing procedures, and how to negotiate with Curves International in regard to their demands for “failure fees” and often tens of thousands of dollars for “future royalties.” (Also called “Liquidated damages”)

If you have advice or experience closing one of more Curves clubs, please share your experience below.

From the post CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story, here’s an exchange regarding the closing fee:

Donna  Submitted on 2009/10/08 at 2:41pm

HELP!!! I have read some of the horror stories listed. I to have to close my club. I can not get anyone to return my calls from CI. I do not know what to do. I have had my club almost 7 years and have paid my dues. I do not have 10,000 dollars. Because of the recession I have to close. I love my members and hate to dissapoint them but I have no choice. The closing packet was sent to me but I’m scared to send it in. Is there any help out there? I have to do what I need to do today. Will they let me out without the 10,000 fee. Has anyone out there been in my shoes. Please someone respond as I need advice and help NOW.

CA ex-owner  Submitted on 2009/10/08 at 8:21pm

We’ve all been there! Our club has been closed for over a year. We refused to pay the $10,000. They emailed us two more times, first lowering it to $8,000, then to $6,000 – we still refused. Next came a letter from Curves Legal stating we now owed fees for the remainder of our franchise agreement, somewhere in the amount of over $42,000, with a fair amount of scare tactics! (Read our story above: CA Ex-owner on October 16th, 2008) We then sent a letter back to legal, refusing to pay anything and the reasons why. Now I will knock on wood before I say this, but it has been over a year that we sent them that letter and we have not heard a thing yet.

We are not part of the legal action that many of the people above are pursuing, and I’m sure someone will respond on how to proceed in that direction, or direct you to on what other options you may have. Remember, you are not alone, we’ve all been through this horrible experience. It hardly makes it better, but at least maybe knowing there are so many of us out there, you might feel a little better…

Another Curver Submitted on 2009/10/09 at 12:15pm

Hi Donna.
Like You, I had to close my club. I closed it Feb 28th this year…
Of course I did everything I could to keep Curves International properly informed and I asked them for advice on the best way to proceed…

The one thing they did spell out, there is no “standard” $10,000 fee. At least Not Anymore. They said, if I write a letter asking for a settlement instead of paying all the outstanding royalties and ad fees, then they will put it to a review board and the review board will make a suggestion for a settlement. Then they told me not to write a letter but to hold onto the closing packet.

Well, then they forgot about me for 6 or 8 or 10 weeks. I think it was sometime in May that I got a notice that I owed some $40,000 for the balance of royalties and such…
however, i did inform them that i was filing for bankruptcy. they never asked for the bankruptcy attorneys name or the case number. i am just now filing, so they havent gotten any legal notices yet either.
since then I have not heard one word. it’s been what, 7 months since I closed. ridiculous…
i do have another franchise, that i’m struggling to hold onto, and you would think maybe that’s why they’re giving me some slack…
they are very frustrating but i think they have a backlog of closed cases. i have been told by others (gossip?) that they are understaffed and overworked. of course they’re busy with the big lawsuit that “unhappy” is part of it. and all the little lawsuits. i would like to know more about gofigure’s lawsuit against them too.
my attorney told me not to worry about any of it, because our state law supercedes whatever was written in the franchise agreement….

Donna  Submitted on 2009/10/12 at 12:21pm

Robert was right on. Settlement from 10,000 now wanting 2,500. And its only been 12 days. I don’t close until Oct. 30th. They were also nice and I wouldn’t have to pay it until the end of Nov. I wonder If I ask nice they’ll say i don’t have to give away my equipment to another Curves or destroy it -I can do what I want with it. What do you think?

HAVE YOU SUCCESSFULLY NEGOTIATED CURVES CLOSING FEES?  IS CURVES OR THEIR LAW FIRM HARRASSING YOU FOR CLOSING FEES & DAMAGES?  PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE BELOW.

This post was originally published October 12, 2009 and updated June 20, 2012

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