Sebastian Schoepe, CEO and President of RSG Group North America, says he follows a German saying: “Don’t sell fishing rods if you’re not fishing yourself.
When it comes to fitness, he thinks RSG Group and Gold’s Gym offer a good product for their members. RSG Group purchased Gold’s Gym in 2020 after Gold’s Gym filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic. As the pandemic slows, RSG Group is delivering on its promise by opening all-new gyms in major metropolitan areas, including Dallas-Fort Worth.
What was important in the expansion plans was to retain the same “iconic” brand that Gold’s Gym was known for. Founder and bodybuilder Joe Gold built the gym in Venice, Calif., as a place where he and his friends can work out for just $60 a year. The homemade equipment created by Gold was used by old-time bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Franco Columbu.
“We haven’t been shy about seeing what we can do to really reinvigorate the brand and hopefully bring it back to the glory days to turn it back from bankruptcy into a very successful business,” said Schoepe.
RSG Group and Gold’s Gym also put down roots in Texas, with 62 Gold’s Gyms in the Lone Star State. Schoepe said the company is creating clusters of gyms in different cities. Gold’s has two offices, a main one in Los Angeles and one in Dallas, where the company likes the idea of creating more gyms near those locations.
RSG Group operates three fitness brands in North America: Heimat, a health club; John Reed, a club run by DJs; and Gold’s Gym.
In February, the company opened a John Reed Fitness at the Preston Center. John Reed Gyms, which originated in Germany, are known for their “nightclub vibes” during workouts. Schoepe said RSG Group is also considering a full-scale club at Victory Park.
In Dallas, Gold’s Gym has three new clubs. Highland Meadows, the latest location, opened in early August, with 22,230 square feet. Members can still get early membership for $25 per month, but the price will eventually increase to $40 per month after the new deal opens. Little Elm has a 30,447 square foot location that opened in May for $40 a month. Flower Mound also opened its 20,561 square foot location in February for $40 per month. There are also two older sites at Richardson and Waxahachie.
The fitness industry has been hit during the pandemic as gyms have closed and home workouts have become the norm. The rise of brands like Peloton, where users bought a bike or treadmill and worked out at home, was the hot item in the fitness market. That has since changed, as gyms reopen and businesses like Platoon struggle. Gold made its reversal just in time, Schoepe said.
RSG Group operates 1,000 clubs around the world, Schoepe said, and members are loyal to the brand. He said it was clear the type of audience they were targeting was based on the coachbuilder in the brand’s famous logo.
“We recalibrated the brand,” Schoepe said. “What it actually represents is serious fitness. We’re going back to our roots which started in Venice in 1965, where it didn’t stop at bodybuilding and where serious fitness didn’t necessarily mean weight gain.
There’s still some “cleaning up” to do, Schoepe said. When RSG Group acquired Gold’s Gym, it owned 61 clubs worldwide. Today, RSG Group has increased that number to 72. Every two months, RSG Group searches for new cities where it can find opportunities in a new market, he said.
All the while, Schoepe said, the company will continue to provide the same “legendary product” that Gold’s Gym is known for.
“We are creating these clubs because we are fit,” Schoepe said. “We love fitness.”