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