Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire: What do CURVES Franchisees Think?

Unhappy Franchisee – Curves founder Gary Heavin and his wife Diane will be featured in an episode of the new “inspirational” ABC series “Secret Millionaire.”

We ask:  Do Curves franchisees perceive Heavin’s Secret Millionaire participation as positive brand exposure that will benefit existing clubs? 

Or do they perceive it as a slap in the face, an ego-fueled insult to the thousands of failed or failing Curves franchise owners who are now, themselves, suffering financial hardship by investing in Heavin’s franchise?

Feel free to share your view below. 

There’s more to this story than it seems… – Gary Heavin

The promo clip for the episode begins with ominous music and a dramatic voiceover:

[Narrator:]  “Tonight… A couple who has created a health club empire…

[Gary Heavin:]  “We’re kind of the McDonald’s of fitness…”

[Narrator:] “…Will experience life in one of the nation’s poorest cities…”

[Diane Heavin:] “I’m not sure I understand poverty in America like this…”

[Narrator:] “…For six days days they will be stripped of all luxuries…”

[Gary Heavin:] “Six dollars and fifty cents a day… Wow…”

[Narrator:] ““…And assume new lives as secret millionaires… Looking for deserving people who need their help… In the end they’ll surprise community heroes with tens of thousands of dollars of their own money…”

[Diane Heavin:] “We really want to do something special…”

[Narrator:] “After revealing their secret identities as…”

[Gary Heavin:] “There’s more to this story than it seems…”

[Narrator:] “The Secret Millionaire.”

For six days they will be… looking for deserving people who need their help… – Narrator

A television show about the founders of Curves having to search for deserving people in financial crisis may strike some as a tad ironic.

The Wall Street Journal reported 1000 franchises Curves clubs failed in 2009 (Read CURVES: 1000 Franchise Clubs Failed Last Year).  Since 2007, 2/3 of Curves domestic franchises – more than 2500 clubs – closed their doors.  The financial toll on many franchise owners has been devastating.

On UnhappyFranchisee.com, failed and failing Curves franchise owners have reported that instead of receiving assistance and support from their philanthropic franchisor, they have received threatening letters, demands for closing fees and payments, and been mercilessly harrassed by an IL law firm/collection agency claiming to represent the Heavin’s company. 

Curves franchisees, many of whom were “stripped of all luxuries” long ago, have voiced their discontent in more than a thousand comments on UnhappyFranchisee.com (Read CURVES: Robert Lay’s Story and  CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee).

None have, so far, reported receiving a call from Gary or Diane Heavin offering to do something special for them.

We really want to do something special… – Diane Heavin

The Secret Millionaire series will debut on Sunday, March 6 at 9/8c.   

The short clip above is a teaser from one of the first episodes of Secret Millionaire, which features Diane and Gary Heavin, scheduled to air on April 3.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW!

49 thoughts on “Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire: What do CURVES Franchisees Think?

  • March 1, 2011 at 6:51 pm
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    Gary and Diane are corporate thieves. They have used their fake spiritual message to con so many gullible franchisees that they are no better than Madoff. Only more evil. They have always known that their model was destined to ruin franchisees and make Curves gloriously wealthy. Yet they just became increasingly greedy, using franchise $$ to enrich themselves without spending anything on effective marketing strategies.

    From the moment my partner and I arrived at Club Camp in Waco for training, I could feel my partner had wasted his money. This is why I was not afraid to air my deep misgivings among all new franchisees present. Since I am an ADA-certified nutritionist & certified personal trainer, I loved the idea of supporting women in their quest for better health. However, to maintain interest and excitement, I had to make significant changes to the original Curves concept because the routine had grown stale and the machines, cheap and unchallenging. These were among the complaints I had already made during training in Waco.

    However hard I tried, I could not save our 2 clubs because the support and creative, strategic planning and marketing just were not there. All Gary and his henchmen ever wanted to do was take, rape and squeeze.

    Two years after we opened, I could already see my predictions coming to pass. Having wasted all this money, it was very frightening, so I wrote Gary a letter filled with suggestions for more creative marketing. Curves’ response was condescending and dismissive. They knew it all so they did not need any help. At that time, they were still the #1 franchise in the world.

    Curves was foolish enough to disregard my advice. However, 6 years later, this same advice has become standard at all self-respecting gyms. Moreover, weight loss/management is more popular and more profitable than ever before.

    So if the franchise had been properly managed, all boats would now be afloat and Gary and Diane would not now be resorting to Zumba and other lesser, latterday gimmicks to revive their brand and absolve themselves.

    By 2007, they had plummeted to #371. Problem is, their franchisees suffered the brunt of the financial losses. Most of them will never recover because the recession hit soon afterwards.

    So if they had any conscience at all, Gary and Diane would make an effort to compensate franchisees for the staggering losses they sustained as a result of thier avarice. If they don’t, God himself will deal with them.

  • March 1, 2011 at 7:07 pm
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    Took me a long time to accept the fact that some folks are just amoral and are perfectly comfortable with performing and benefiting from evil deeds.
    Insult does not even begin to describe it.

  • March 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm
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    My first thought:
    Both, You used the word percieve.
    There will be franchisees: newbies, Gary Heavin groupies and the few clubs doing well that will “perceive” this as a positive.
    The rest will percieve it as an insult as well as fuel for his gigantic ego.

  • March 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm
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    I tried for 2 years to sell my Curves and finally basically gave it away when I was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. I suffered a $100,000 loss on the venture, but I’m glad it’s over. Don’t think I’ll tune in to watch.

  • March 2, 2011 at 3:29 am
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    Maybe he should visit some former franchisees now living in poverty because of his desire to fill the world with an unsustainable 10,000 Curves. I bet someone on the show says there are STILL 10,000 Curves in the world, too, instead of the actual 4,500-5,000 surviving clubs.

  • March 2, 2011 at 3:46 am
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    I’ve tried posting warnings to potential owners at Curves videos on YouTube, but my messages are blocked.

  • March 2, 2011 at 10:34 am
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    Texans like George Bush and Howie Heavin do business over the barrel of a gun.
    Howie has never accounted for the hundreds of Millions of Dollars in advertising
    money that he has taken from his Franchisee business partners.

    We opened 4 Curves in 2002, sold two which subsequently closed, closed one
    and have one very profitable one left, its success due to a very competent and savy owner/operator.

    Howie would sell a franchise to anybody who held out a hand full of money. The fact that many of the franchisees were inexperienced, and inadequate business
    people led to their demise with the help of a grasping, greedy, incompetent,and amoral franchisor.

    A sucessful Franchise operation cannot be properly managed without a strong competent Field Group. Curves area reps. are a very bad joke at the expense
    of the sucess of the Francisees.

    The tiny lean and mean operation that is Curves International could never run an operation with 1000 locations with any sucess. Their operatives are low paid clerks that haven’t a clue about management of a Cuves Franchise.

    The whole sad story is one of unfettered ambition, runaway greed, over inflated ego and complete lack of concience and christian morals by Howie Heavin.

  • March 2, 2011 at 3:45 pm
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    no one cares to see what they have that we don’t and what our money goes towards. Whatever money they do donate is duh tax deductible.

  • March 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm
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    First thing, if one truly wanted to be a Secret Millionaire, they would not choose to be on this show.

    Now to the Gary Heavins portion of the question, I find his giving complete strangers money totally hypocritical.  His family (franchisees) have had to close their doors & declared bankruptcy before fulfilling their contract with Curves and Curves has sued them for the remainder of the royalty & advertising fees (figured at the maximum amount).  Since we all know that nothing is done at Curves without Gary’s blessing, he is responsible for kicking a former family member while he/she is down.  If he truly wished to be benevolent, he would have Christian compassion for his fellow man and at least let the franchisee die in peace.  The reason I threw in the Christian part is because he wears it as a badge to explain to anyone who will listen that he is to be trusted.  I should have recognized this before I bought, but I got hung up with drinking his Koolaide.

    For the first 2 years of my contract I did what he asked, bought what he told me to buy.  Only later did I find out that he was only exploiting me for personal gain.  He has made claims that Curves initiated the Curves Smart equipment, only to find out after I bought it that it is used in many gyms.  His lies and misleading to franchisees are too numerous to bore you with.

    I have asked many times for an accounting of the Advertising Fund that I pay in monthly.  I have been told that they do not have to release that information.  I find out now that Curves is requesting that people, who are not renewing their contract, return to Curves  things that the contract does not specify.  One of the scariest thing they request is all information on all of our members.  Curves has no business to that information and I further believe that to turn it over to Curves would be illegally distributing information that the member entrusted to the franchisee.  (note-I am not a lawyer)

    I believe that Curves has gotten away with such bullying tactics because those of us who purchase a Curves did so because of its low entry cost and the people who own franchises have no left over money for lawyers.

    Gary Heavin is evil self-serving leach and does not care for his fellow man.  He has agreed to this TV show to advance his image to others and feed his ego.  I am totally repulsed with the airing of this episode.

     
    Anonymous

  • March 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm
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    my wifes shut her curves down i jan 2010 we finally started getting calls from some bottom feeder in il. then a report from the credit bureau that a collection agency is trying to collect. my credit score dropped 80 points. i have ha ve a lawyer since she shut down an was looking foward to going to court these sob’s don’t have the b!!!! to face anyone. curves will never get a dime out of me or my wife. i paid cash for the franchise and gave them notice after the membership dropped to 15 members no support from curves at that time. i hope he burns in hell for all the people he has ruined

  • March 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm
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    ME TOO

  • March 4, 2011 at 9:17 am
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    I have just coles my club after trying to make a go of it for just over 3 years. I find that Curves International just doesn’t care. I asked for help and got nothing. To be honest I’m not sure what they could have done to help since I feel I already put 110% into making a go of it. I agree with these others that the Heavins are getting rich while the clubs out there go under.

  • March 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm
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    Too bad the Heavins haven’t shown the benevolence to their franchisees (the people who gave them their millionaire status) that they’re showing total strangers. Many of us have gone bankrupt, ruined our health from the stress of d/b/a Curves, lost our homes and our spouses, taken on second and third jobs – you name it; it’s happened to us. And all because any time we’ve asked for just the slightest consideration (a break on our royalty and/or advertising fees, better national advertising to help us build our businesses), we’ve been flatly denied.

    We were told to be “nice people” and let members walk away from their contracts without penalty. Yet no one at Curves International would ever consider allowing us to do likewise. In fact, knowing that we’re bleeding ourselves dry, they ask for penalties and interest and even equipment that WE purchased with our own money subsequent to signing our franchise agreement – equipment that isn’t even mentioned in the agreement. And when we refuse to turn over that equipment, we are threatened with legal action.

    We were told that we should give freebies such as t-shirts and gifts and this would motivate mature women to be faithful to us. All the while we were required to purchase these “freebies” from family-owned Curves Products and pay exorbitant prices, not only for the item itself but for inflated shipping prices. Having been in the position of purchasing t-shirts for local events (but in much smaller quantities than Curves International purchases), I KNOW what kind of pricing you can get for bulk orders. Many times we were paying AT LEAST retail price for the honor of GIVING AWAY our profit.

    Yes, you may say, “How stupid were you?”, and that’s true to a certain extent. However, when you purchase a franchise, you expect the franchisor to have your best interests at heart because, after all, if you are successful he/she will surely also be successful. However, it appears the Heavins were in this for the big, fast buck and did NOT have the long-term interest of their franchisees at heart.

    I believe that the ONLY reason the Heavins have participated in “Secret Millionaire” is to feed Gary’s ego and get his name out there for the benefit of whatever his NEXT scam is going to be – and I’d bet my last dollar (oops, it’s already gone!) that there IS another scam in the works.

    These people are DISGUSTING, and it’s a slap in the face of every Curves franchisee out there to see them portrayed in such an “honorable” way. Again, too bad they aren’t as nice to their needy business partners (Curves franchisees) as they are to others. But in that case they wouldn’t get nearly the national press, now would they?

    I really would love to see ABC reconsider airing the Heavins’ “Secret Millionaire” segment.

  • March 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm
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    Hello Barbara,

    Are you the original owner or a resale?

  • March 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm
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    I too would love to see ABC reconsider airing this particular segment.

    [Diane Heavin:] “I’m not sure I understand poverty in America like this…”

    All they had to do was look in their own backyard. How they sleep at night is beyond me!

    As a former Curves Franchisee I cringe at the hypocrisy of the whole thing. How can someone publicly portray themselves as generous and giving when they know that many of the people who helped them make their millions have lost everything in the process?

    The real story of generosity would have been to do a show on the franchisees who have given so very much of their time, money and heart to provide a service for people at the expense of their own well being. Not a story about the ones who publicly made millions when the real secret they try to keep is how many others have been devastated in the process.

    I’m happy to know that some are receiving a benefit from the Heavin’s millions, but knowing what I do about CI’s policies this show goes so far beyond a slap in the face there aren’t even words to describe it.

  • March 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm
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    I too would love to have seen them being placed among franchisees who have gone bankrupt, had their lives ruined… There have even been suicides! … while Gary continues to insist we run things exactly the way he said over 15 years ago, and says no to every possible thing he could have done to keep us profitable, in spite of feedback from the franchisee association and individual franchisees for years. He could never put money in our advertising fund without having to brag on stage at convention about how generous he’d been to help advertise his business… with totally inappropriate and unhelpful ads. He doesn’t seem to get that the franchisees are where his money comes from. I would so love to have seen him do this show with his own ruined franchisees instead of strangers. Maybe we should all be sending him our horror stories. He’s probably not going to read them here.

  • March 5, 2011 at 1:54 am
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    I don’t even know where to start! I bought my Curves 6 years ago when I truly believed Gary Heavin was sincere about helping women who never exercised to turn their lives around. He also seemed to really want to help women own a business and be successful. WOW–I took it hook, line and sinker!

    I have seen over the years, the true intentions of this man and his family owned companies that we Curves owners must purchase from. GREED does not even begin to cover it! No choices, no improvements, no advertising, no support, no compassion, no ANYTHING but total disregard of our circumstances.

    We are supposed to be the hand that feeds him, but he has devoured us.
    So many of us have lost our life savings, our homes, our SANITY! My husband worked 2 full time jobs for 4 years to see us through. He lost one of the jobs, and now I am just fading away–every month we lose more members than we gain. I ask anyone–when was the last time you saw a Curves commercial? How about Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem? You get the picture.

    I, too, want an accounting of my advertising fee. Every month, Curves International takes a percentage out of every owner’s bank account–where is that money going? We want to know-we have a right to know!

    I have written some strong emails to the CEO, Mike Raymond. I know he sees my name and files them under “garbage”. I tell him what we are going through, but he doesn’t care. He said in an interview that the loss of so many Curves “was an intentional ‘pruning’ of the system”! I guess, then, it was their intention to financially ruin those people. Someone said it earlier in these comments that there have even been owners who committed suicide-that is true. Even when they lost it all, Curves continued their threats and pressured them til they could not take it anymore.

    I don’t know of any other franchise that is so hated by its franchisees. We stay open, first of all, because we LOVE OUR LADIES and don’t want to let them down, and secondly, because of the threats of heavy fines if we close before the end of our contracts. But some owners cannot hang on that long. So when they have nothing left, Curves fines them on top of it all. They just kick them when they are already down and devastated. That’s a Christian company? Certainly not my definition of “Christian”.

    I can’t explain it. You would think they would be doing anything and everything to help us succeed. When the economy fell, owners asked if franchise fees could be lowered to help us get through it. Instead, they told us to ask our landlords to lower the rent! When Gary spoke at regional meetings and conventions, he told us that “there IS NO recession if you just ‘BELIEVE’ there is no recession!” Have you ever heard anything so stupid?

    To see him on this show makes me sick. He loves the attention and wants people to think he is a kind, generous man! I am here to tell you that he is a heartless SOB. He has to face his Maker someday, and I hope he likes HOT weather!

  • March 5, 2011 at 11:53 am
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    Have any of you actualy commented to the airing network? I believe all these comments are being wasted on this site alone. Don’t get me wrong, this site is a wonderful place to come to for help and support, but there is a comment site on the actual network that you can sign into anonymously. I believe the “world” needs to see and hear what the rest of us have suffered at the hands of these horrible people

  • March 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm
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    I actually have commented on that site, but I didn’t get as detailed as I did here. I must have been having a better day!

  • Pingback:CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee : Unhappy Franchisee

  • March 5, 2011 at 7:54 pm
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    Placing comments on other sites is a great idea, especially if you link back to the thousands of comments and sad stories on UnhappyFranchisee.com. It’s easy to dismiss a single commenter as disgruntled, but not so easy to dismiss the experiences, stories and hardships Curves franchisees have had the courage to share here over the past three years. Letters to ABC and news organizations can refer back here as well.

    Here are some examples of comments you can make, along with the top three links to share. Feel free to copy and paste:

    – For the past 3 years, UnhappyFranchisee.com has been hosting the insider’s view of the Curves collapse from the viewpoint of those who know it best: struggling Curves franchise owners. Read the posts at CURVES: Curves Posts on Unhappy Franchisee
    http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/curves-unhappy-franchisee/

    – 2500 Curves domestic franchises have failed in the past three years. That’s 1/3 of the total US clubs. Instead of the support and compassion the franchisees expected, Curves International unleashed a collection agency on the ruined franchisees for having the nerve to fail before their contracts were up. Here’s what they think of
    Gary Heavin on ABC Secret Millionaire appearance:
    http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/curves-gary-heavin-secret-millionaire/

    – The millionaire has another, bigger secret. More than 1000 comments by Curves franchisees tell the real story behind the Curves hype:
    http://www.unhappyfranchisee.com/curves-robert-lays-story/

    Writers and news media can feel free to contact the publisher of this site at unhappyfranchisee[at]gmail.com

  • March 6, 2011 at 11:16 am
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    I agree with the comments previously posted. The news media needs to be educated about what Gary and Diane’s real “secret” is: They are liars. They steal and cheat thousands of innocent people every day. They definitely don’t deserve one bit of positive recognition for giving money to the poor when they’re stealing from the poor franchisees every day! This is so unethical and morally wrong. I understand the money they donate is going to help people in great need and for that I’m thankful, but the Heavins have a moral obligation to help their “family” of franchisee’s first! I hope ABC does their homework before airing this episode.

  • March 6, 2011 at 11:17 am
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    What is the URL for posting on the ABC network re: The Secret Millionaire?
    Thanks.

  • March 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm
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    Whenever I even see the “Curves” name, it makes me cringe. I feel so sorry for ALL of us having to go through this. I closed my last club in May 2010. I have so many unresolved issues, but I feel better now, then I have in years. Stay strong!!!
    I truly hope that the Heavins’ get what they deserve!

  • March 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm
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    There should be a show, “Secret’s of Millionaires” that exposes Gary and Diane, and other millionaires who have benefited at the expense of others.

  • March 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm
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    Maybe someone out there will hear us (LOL) and call Dateline or 60 Minutes and tell what is really going on in the Curves universe.

    At this point I am convinced that CII is NOT at all interested in their francisees they are only interested in SELLING franchises. That is where the money is. I’m sure Gary Heavin figured out 10 years ago that having sucessful franchisees is not the point. IF he valued the franchisees that made him rich he would not have opened clubs on every street corner to the detriment of the sucessful clubs that were already in operation.

    IMO he is going to open another frachise based on his idea of a weight-loss system. All of his focus has been on the weight-loss program, that way he can sell home based exercise and make women pay to lose weight. Gary Heavin is OBSESSED with Weight Watchers. He wants to take them down. He is a egomaniac without a conscience. PLEASE call/e-mail ABC about this program. Maybe we can stop it. Has anyone thought about a Facebook campaign?

  • March 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm
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    Curves franchisee sent this by email:

    “I just went to abc.com and entered a comment. I suggested that just prior to the show they run a 20/20 segment on Gary and Diane and how they’ve made their millions and how they’ve treated the owners of closed Curves. Suggest you advise all of your mailing list to do the same. Told abc it would definitely keep people tuned in to see this GENEROUS and GIVING couple….”

    Great idea. Don’t forget to link back to this post.

    Cat wrote: “Has anyone thought about a Facebook campaign?

    There is a Secret Millionaire facebook page that could be “Liked” and posted to, but probably not anonymously.

  • March 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm
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    So many of my fellow franchisees have said exactly what I feel – and so eloquently! Thank goodness that my husband and I did not depend on our failed Curves (gave it 3 years of blood, sweat, tears, and hundreds of thousands of dollars!) for our livelihood. I’m an elementary schoolteacher who gave my whole teaching paycheck every month to the vampire called Curves! I worked 14 hour days and my husband did backbreaking work 7 days a week. I’m all about the fight baby! I am in the process of fighting Curves Legal for the contract “buy-out.” My word for it is “extortion.” Thanks for the great advice, I too am going to write to ABC. Have already planned to facebook my friends about this, just need some tech. help to really spread it. Curves is seriously deranged if they think they are getting another dime from me (I still have a huge loan to pay off!) or that they think they are entitled to any of my family’s personal assets. Come on people, it’s time for a revolution! Let’s all write to ABC! Thanks to all who are fighting back, you inspire me!

  • March 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm
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    Ok people …. sirously I feel for you all that lost it all because of someone..but even if you are all right and it was 100% because of GH why deprive someone of getting monitary help from him .. just close the chapter!! if GH is the crook you all seem to say he is, life will take care of him.. but one way or the other you will not get any $$ back from wrighting on this blog .. wishing harm to someone will just keep you from reaching your own goals..

    Think about this… could the reason for the curves closure be the ressession, the fact that too many copy of curves oppened , the fact that larger Gyms incorporated Women only sections with circuit trainning , lady express , shape express, shape for women , fit express and a lot more 30 min concept virtualy do not exist anymore.. does all of those franchisor crook’s ??? can you blame it all on them only?? well I did a personal test to see by calling 30 different club owner 15 of them from Curves my calls where all done between 8 Am and 10 Am on Monday
    Wednesday and Friday from the same week of march 14th and the 18th
    funny stuff.. only 18 owner where on location 12 where never there during those hours some of them only came in on friday’s PM… I did not get any numbers but if you look at the failure rate 12 out of 30 is 40% wich supprisingly is the % of clubs closing during 2008 and now… look at it anyway you want do a similar test and you will see for yourself that if you add all the stated fact + an absenty franchisee
    there is a big problem that no business can survive..
    Gary H , is he realy 100% responsible?? probably not…

  • March 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm
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    Marc,
    We never said GH was 100% responsible. But he IS the FOUNDER of Curves International, representative of the entire business, and the one who is making the profit from charging us the franchise fees (5% of all franchise gross) and the advertising fee (3% of all franchise gross). With the ENTIRE LACK OF ADVERTISING, I believe we are entitled to an accounting of where our money is going–which GH does NOT believe we have any right to know.

    Owners not present at the club?
    You only called 30 of the over 4000 (of the original 10000 ) clubs left in the U.S.–18 owners were there. That was a damn good percentage of owners on the premises at the particular time that you called. Let’s see why–it’s because most of us are at another job, since the Curves is not supporting us. I am there 30-35 hours a week. I also spend another 5-10 hours a week marketing my Curves on my own-since we have no national advertising. We are EXPECTED to drive around the territory, handing out flyers and cards to every business in the town (each and every time the “special” changes!) We certainly can’t afford to pay our employees to do it! We also have young children that have to be taken to school, picked up, taken to doctor’s appointments, etc. Some of us have elderly parents we care for part-time. As in my case, I have a grown son with special needs to care for. No, I am not there every hour that we are open. I do have responsibilities in my life that are beyond my business. Some owners are there 16 hours a day, several times a week. Either way, the club does not make enough to pay its own bills. Most of us are using the money from ANOTHER JOB to pay the Curves’ bills.

    Would I like to close my Curves down and “just close the chapter” as you say?? YES! But my Franchise Agreement specifically states that I would owe Curves International a fine of $1190 a month for each month I close early. Let’s add that up–I would owe a fine of over $20,000 if I closed right now. If I HAD $20,000, I would not have to close! This company has and continues to persecute those owners that owe the fine.

    This company does NOT try to innovate or try anything new to increase membership. (When I use the word “company”, I AM referring to Gary Heavin.) Clubs that went 24/7 hours of operation are being told at this moment to stop it or be shut down in May of this year. For many of these clubs. it is the only way they have been able to stay open at all.

    The mistakes this company has made, and are still making, are not ensuring the survival of its franchisees. It is only interested in opening more clubs outside the U.S., over-ranchising there as well. In my case, there were originally 12 Curves in a 15 mile radius, five of which are closed. The rest of us haven’t been able to pay ourselves a dime in 3-5 years. Is Gary Heavin responsible for over-franchising? YES, he is.

    Yes, there are many factors that merge to cause the failure of a business. But a franchise has a responsibility to its franchisees to do its best to ensure their profitability. Listening to new ideas from those doing the grunt work should be of utmost importance and taken seriously. It has a responsibility to use the advertising money it collects for ACTUAL ADVERTISING. Franchisees should have the right to know where their fees are being spent. They should have a right to expect that the FOUNDER OF THE COMPANY would be interested in their success.

    By the way, I am NOT AGAINST Gary Heavin giving money to those who are in need, nor am I wishing “him harm”! We, and I am speaking for many Curves owners out there–just want the world to know that Gary Heavin is NOT what he pretends to be. This show only perpetuates the fact that he enjoys the spotlight and notoriety, without having people know how he really runs his business, or what kind of person he really is.

    Is he 100% responsible for the demise of Curves clubs in the U.S.? Pretty darn close!

  • March 28, 2011 at 5:32 pm
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    Wow!!,

    I see that I am right on the money when I say that problems like the one you have arent cause only by the founder of Curves but more because of many factors,
    1 -is the fact that most owners have lost the passion (with reason or not) and the feeling that things will work out and the money will start rolling in.
    2- Absenty franchisee will never have a triving business even if it was a Mcdonald!!
    3- Familly , stress, money trouble , it’s all real but understand that a business does not care about all this.. it has no hart, no brain but it will fail once it has reach the bottom.
    4 – The territories This one I give it to you hand’s down, to much of a good thing is never good.
    5- Advertizing.. In their Disclosure Document 2010 it is writen that they recieved more than 20 Millions from their franchisees and that they spent only 1.8 million
    you need to know where this money is!! a franchisor canot spent this kind of money anyway he choose, it’s not his .. speak to an attorney..
    6- the supporting role of a franchisor would be to find new way’s for you to make money like the Curves smart..lol.. funny story is that Curves did make 2.3 millions out of the sales from Curves Smart!!! it could have worked but not with the hydraulics.. no way ever.. !!! I feel that If Curves want to implement some new product or services and let’s say it a amazing idea and you have to spent 5 K no one would.. or would you ..??? Curves tomorow calls you to say we have the perfect way of brigning many new costumers to you .. send us 5K and it will work.. would you trust them?? I think NOT.. so Curves is at this point where eighter the 4000 franchisee joined forces and give it a final push or it will simply fail .. GH is doing exactly what any business man would do .. if there is no more fish in the pond find another one.. and another… this is why they dont sell in North America only in forein contries that dont ask to see the disclosure documents with all 43 pages fulle of closures…

    Is there any way for you to make an offer to Curves to settle I have heard that 5K will do the trick.. then just start your own concept..!!

    I feel seriously bad for anyone in this business.. you alwa’ys need to make some change , improove , take care of costumers all the time ,
    On Thing no one has ever thaught of is that all Curves are opperated by triving women with a dream and for most of them they also have a family to take care of !!! Family will alway’S come first for a women and the men will rely on them to do so adding a stress wich besomes unbarable and will affect the business..

    Good luck…

  • March 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm
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    Marc,
    Thank you for your kind response.

    I did buy into the CurvesSmart. It actually works incredibly well. Unfortunately, Curves did not advertise it. Some women on CurvesSmart think it’s the “best kept secret” of Curves.

    Yes, it should be the responsibility of the franchisor to find us more ways to make money-especially since we are bound by franchise agreements not to do anything unless it is “Curves Approved”.

    We do have a Curves Franchise Association. It is supposed to speak for owners when dealing with CI. I don’t think they have much power, though.

    Some Curves bargain down the closing fee (fine). If I had 5k, I wouldn’t need to close. I’m trying to wait out my franchise agreement, another 16 months. I hope I can hold out that long! If I can, most likely I will owe them nothing. (Not that they won’t try to get what they can from me.) I will be consulting a lawyer to make sure they don’t take advantage of me.

    Start my own concept? No, thanks. I am done owning my own business.

    Actually, many, many Curves are owned by men, who work it full time. I had a friend that was working her Curves over 65 hours a week–certainly not absentee. She lost her club and her life savings anyway, and so did a male owner I knew. How much time you spend in the club is, for the most part, not an indication if a Curves will survive or not.

    I do blame GH and Curves International for the over franchising and lack of advertising that have contributed heavily to the demise of Curves franchises in the U.S. It’s futile to think he will ever admit to his mistakes, or make restitution. The company is only interested in what they can take.

    For now, I will take care of my ladies, because I love each and every one of them. Curves members become like family, and the friendships that I have with these women is what I will miss most.

    Thanks for letting me vent, and thanks for the well-wishes.

  • March 30, 2011 at 11:28 am
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    Does anyone know where Curves International’s 2010 Disclosure Document can be found?

  • March 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm
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    Marc, just curious if you own a Curves franchise? Can you really speak to what owning a Curves is really like?

  • March 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm
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    I would also like to know where to get a copy of the CI 2010 Disclosure Document.

  • April 9, 2011 at 11:00 am
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    I couldn’t watch Secret Millionaire. There is not enough Pepto Bismal in the world…
    I do have one question for Mr. H…has he even read the Bible once? He has forgotten the scripture that says you should not let the right hand know what the left hand is doing. Oops, he forgot that one.

  • May 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm
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    I have never come across more illiterate, blathering imbeciles, then on the comments of this page. To all of you who have tried and failed at running one or more Curves franchises, you were destined to fail at life either way. To take a pre-written business plan that has been proven time and time again (I mean… the guy is rich for a reason), and still manage to screw it up, just means that you don’t have the mental aptitude, common sense, money management skills, and/or the most minute bit of business savvy. It truly is sad that all you half witted franchise failures whine and moan about you personal failures by blaming it on others instead of putting all of this time and effort in to bettering yourselves. Just face it, you were never mean to be a part of the business world. You all just don’t have the intellectual wherewithal to be running things… you should mopping floors at McDonald’s. Act like adults, for once, and get out there, learn from your mistakes, and make something of yourselves.

  • May 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm
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    Chris:

    Thanks for your enlightening comment. Wow, we really did need a dose of reality from a sharp business mind like yours to put things in perspective!

    I’m just curious as to why a business mogul such as yourself bothers berating these poor suckers rather than making easy millions off their bad attitudes? I mean, many of us “blathering imbeciles” will sell you our clubs for just $1. All you’ve got to do is let us sign them over to you. You could buy a bunch of them, then just follow the “pre-written business plan that has been proven time and time again”

    You’ll be a zillionaire in no time!

    PS my favorite line was about Gary Heavin “”(I mean… the guy is rich for a reason)”. Just like Bernard Madoff. What are HIS stupid investors complaining about?

  • May 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm
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    Anon:

    Well thank you so much for the suggestions. I happen to own a very successful business venture of my own so I have to need for franchises that have been neglected and sullied to the point that even a business pro would be unable to pick up the pieces.

    I see that you feel very strongly about you opinions, however I regret to inform you that your tenacity is trumped only by you ignorance. Due to freedom of speech, I suppose it is constitutional to go around comparing any person with means to Bernie Madoff, but that doesn’t make you any more clever or correct. Assuming you are just another of these failed franchisees, I would recommend seeking employment at the National Enquirerer, as they use about as many FACTS in their writing as well. I do, however, feel sorry for anyone who needs to play the blame game to justify their failures, and being the religious person that I am, I will be sure to pray for you.

    Best regards

  • May 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm
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    Chris,
    I am truly amazed that you could say such hurtful things to people you don’t know anything about. I guess that is YOUR freedom of speech at work.

    You ALSO do not have all the facts, either–please remember that.

    You say you are a religious person. I wonder what religion you believe you are following. I don’t know of any religion that would condone lashing out at people you do not know in the manner in which you did, and then say “best regards”. You have not walked a mile in their shoes. Until you have, nothing you ever say about them will be clever or correct, either.

    I do happen to be a follower of Christ. I also know the difference between “walking the walk” and just “talking the talk”. I will walk the walk and forgive you in advance for what you will say to me.

    No matter what “religion’ you are, would your God approve of what you want to say? If not, I will be the one praying for you.

  • May 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm
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    Okay Chris, you pushed a button on that last comment.

    First off, I am one of those “illiterate, blathering imbeciles” you’ve referred to. No matter what I did I couldn’t turn a profit. Why? Because I was bound by a 15 year old business plan and ridiculous restrictions. Being the successful business person you claim to be, I’m sure even you would would agree that any business plan needs to be updated on occasion.

    After years of paying royalties and advertising fees, following all the “rules”, NEVER receiving any support and little to no advertising for the money I gave them every month I can look back and see that a very large part of that business failing was due to the franchisor not holding up their end of the deal. My biggest mistake was in trusting that a franchisor would actually WANT their franchisees to succeed. What a joke in the case of this particular franchise.

    But guess what? I’m no longer bound by an antiquated business plan and I now have a totally different business with endless opportunities. Which by the way happens to be successful. Imagine that! An illiterate, blathering imbecile who should be mopping floors actually being successful at running a business.

    I’m sure there are many other former owners who could have been quite successful given a fair chance, but it’s a little difficult to do when the franchisor gets more of your income than you do. Most, like myself, put their heart, soul and every bit of energy they had into keeping their business going. Some with very good business skills. Until you’ve been through what we’ve experienced you should try not to be so quick with your blanket judgments.

    That brings me to the “button” you pushed. You’ve done a really good job of demonstrating the difference between being “religious” and being “spiritual”. A spiritual person would see this as an opportunity to show compassion where a religious person would only see one more thing to pass judgment on. One more opportunity to to say “look at me, I’m better than you, I’m religious!”. As caught up as the Pharisees were in the letter of the law rather than the spirit of it they too found time to pray for those who were, in their eyes, less holy.

    You might consider adding to your prayer list that you not be judged as harshly as you tend to judge others.

  • May 31, 2011 at 7:54 am
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    Chris:
    Not even a blathering imbecile would believe for a minute that you are a successful business owner. Your swagger is the type that comes from being president of your high school business club or having a junior college intro to business class under your belt :) Or maybe you are a Heavin nephew out to impress Uncle Gary.

    It’s not just that you try too hard to sound smart (by the way, what is a ” pre-written business plan” ? Are there “post-written business plans”?) It’s also that your logical fallacy that because Heavin’s rich his business plan for franchisees must be sound is naive and sophomoric.

    Heavin’s business plan works for Heavin. Period. At a time when thousands of his franchisees are failing, CI is turning a record profit – $16M or so last year. Instead of coming to the aid of struggling owners, this good Christian sics collection agency attack dogs on them to try to squeeze any last dime out of them before they collapse.

    It’s interesting that the blathering idiots you demean were all screened, interviewed and selected by CI. The one thing you might be right about is that many were destined to fail. Perhaps it’s not an accident after all.

    The reference to Bernard Madoff wasn’t because they are both rich. Bernard Madoff made millions by creating an illusion of respectability & inducing others to invest their life savings in what was just a vile scam. He had no intention of enriching any life other than his own, even if it resulted in suicides, broken families, loss and despair. Sound familiar?

  • October 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm
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    Help. Looking for suggestions. I closed my Curves in July of 2010. Had 3 years left on contract, but no way could I stay open. I was bleeding money. My doors closed in July 2010.
    Since then Curves Int’l sent me 1 letter in December of 2010. I haven’t heard from them since. Until last week — a phone call from a law firm and 2 letters (one was rather insulting) from same law firm in Illinois asking for the money that I owe them for monthly royalties, etc.
    Like was suggested by another previous owner and Mr. Lay, I’ve simply ignored the calls and letters. So has anyone else been getting these letters? What else should I expect from them?
    Any advice/suggestions is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you
    R

  • October 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm
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    R,
    Did you obtain a mutual release from Curves? If you did, fax them a copy.
    If not, you may need a lawyer. Good luck and God Bless!

    9 months til my franchise agreement is over and can’t wait,

    another Curves owner

  • November 3, 2011 at 2:29 am
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    It seems like CFW are all over the place, when it comes to following through, and this is also evident in the legal process, or a luck of any.
    I have been told that the CFW Office is quite small, and the legal team is even smaller.
    I have to spoken to Grace in the Legal department a few times, and she has always been short with me….I felt the least she could do is listen to what I had to say as I was the one staying up in the early hours of the morning to get to speak to someone directly…..Nothing could be resolved as they already had set their mind on where they were heading …and that was straight to court.
    I have se

  • June 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm
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    I “sold” my Curves to Robin English who “successfully” ran a franchise previously…I sold it for $1.00 after she had come to me 6 months before crying over her divorce and would I acccept her $10,000 in diamonds for my Curves. I needed to return to work so offered her the franchise in order for her to get her life back together…in the meantime she bought 2 others franchises, for what moneyh I don’t know, likely the same, and guaranteed me she would not “screw me over” her words……a good “Christian” response…..she now has not paid rent on the premises that I guaranteed for her “when she stated she had no money to pay for franchise fees and transfer fees….and yet she bought ANOTHER Curves. Curves International are as much to blame because I contacted them and requested they not approve her move. Do you think they promoted any integrity on her behalf….oh no…they’ve allowed her to “screw over” all my members and myself. I too what diagnosed with ovarian cancer and she knows that and yet she continues to be allowed by Curves international, Gary and Diane Heavin to be a crook, swindler and is also not claiming all the fees she brings in to Curves.

  • August 1, 2012 at 12:12 am
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    WOW! Is this any different than what Matco does with its NHRA sponsorship of Antron Brown and Tony Scumacher? Build popularity to support sales while selling fraudulent franchises to franchisees? False advertising is what has promoted fraud in years past. But now we have the information highway and I look for these fraudulent corporations to start tearing down our rights to communicate over the information highway any day now so there will be NO VOICE to dispute and tell the true story of those who will do ANYTHING to make money. The greed of man is what has destroyed our government and has consumed franchising.

    Sell the American entrepreneur on a false dream that is completely controlled by the corporation and allows the corporation to NOT pay employment taxes, Social Security, Retirement, Health Benefits and empowers them to commit fraud, steal, threaten and falsely terminate their franchisee? Sounds like our governments concept of balancing the budget!

  • December 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm
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    Does Curves follow thru on its threats? Just closed in September and got my first letter this week. I can’t afford to hire a lawyer and reply! They already got all I have!!!

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