First the bad news: the Palm Beach Post reports that the number of Curves for Women fitness club locations in Palm Beach County has shrunk from 27 to 15 in the past 18 months, a failure rate of 44%.
The worse news: More more closings expected.
Why are Curves franchises closing in record numbers? That depends on who you ask.
Curves International, Inc. Denies That Franchisees are Struggling
According to the Palm Beach Post article, Becky Frusher, spokeswoman Curves International, Inc., “dismisses suggestions that franchisees are struggling.”
“I’m sure the current economic conditions aren’t helping, but one of the great things about a Curves is that it was designed as a low-cost franchise and can be run lean and mean,” she says.
Palm Beach Curves franchisees claim: It’s the Economy, Stupid!
The Curves franchisees quoted in the article blame the economy for the closings:
Curves franchisee Leslie Winer blames the economy. She and her husband recently closed one of three Curves they own, although they still operate gyms in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens.
“Although it shouldn’t, your health and well-being becomes discretionary spending when the economy slows down,” Winer says.
Cindy Moore agrees. She recently moved her 1,500-square-foot location in North Palm Beach to cheaper space. “The economy is causing people to clip their gym memberships,” Moore says.
Furthermore, the franchisees say their high-tech Curves Smart equipment keeps them ahead of the competition.
Observers Blame Over-Expansion, Copycats & Competition
The Curves for Women 30 minute workout chain went through an expansion frenzy in 2005 and 2006. Since that time, Curves owners in Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Jupiter and Palm Springs have closed their doors. The most recent casualty: 45th St. location in West Palm Beach which closed Oct. 29.
Cliff Fostoff of Transworld Business Brokers in Boynton Beach blames Curves’ aggressive expansion and the competition that followed from knockoff concepts.
“They opened a lot of locations not far from each other,” Fostoff says. “And there has been a lot of competition. It’s just vanilla box with a few machines, so it’s a very easy model to copy.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS IT THE ECONOMY, OVER-EXPANSION OR THE CONCEPT CAUSING CURVES WOES? OR IS CURVE INTERNATIONAL CORRECT IN SAYING THAT EVERYTHING’S FINE?
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