Club Insider

The "Insider Speaks"

The Foundational Truth Will Set You Free

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Thomas PlummerThomas Plummer

Publisher's Note: This month's Insider Speaks column is written by Thomas Plummer, who is the single most prolific and proficient educator in the health, racquet and sports club industry. His reputation as a straight-shooter is embraced in the article that follows, and he truly "Tells-it-like-it-is" here (This commentary was in a blog Thomas recently wrote for his website

Thomas Plummer is a 30+ year industry veteran and was chosen as member of the IHRSA Platinum Committee, assembled in preparation for its 25th Anniversary Celebration. Plummer then united his National Fitness Business Alliance with IHRSA for a while, but that arrangement went by the wayside as IHRSA continued to move away from seeking the independent market, which Plummer so well represents and where IHRSA has so little penetration at this point in time. Allowing that to happen was a huge mistake by IHRSA. Look at these numbers:

In a time when IHRSA is seeing significant revenue decreases (reportedly down to $13 million annually from $17 million a couple of years ago), U.S. club owner support is waning as IHRSA persists in its focus on international clubs. This is going on while Joe Moore has been urging the IHRSA Board to redirect its focus to the mission of serving U.S. clubs that have helped grow IHRSA for 29 years. All the while, NFBA has been filling the obvious gap that IHRSA is missing and has been doing a good job of it. This year, NFBA has conducted 14 seminars, and Plummer has done another 25 weeks or so of seminars and workshops around the country, attracting people who own and operate more than 4,000 clubs.

If this type of face-to-face exposure with club owner/operators is the measure, I think Plummer probably has had more direct influence during the past 30 years than anyone in the world in the club business, due to the sheer number of people who hear his unique ideas and use his business systems. But, let me be clear. Should the IHRSA Board not begin to truly listen to Joe Moore and work with Joe to take IHRSA in the direction it should be heading and NOT fix IHRSA by the end of the year 2010, I will predict now that IHRSA will be on its way to failure. Additionally, it's important to keep this in mind; Joe Moore and Thomas Plummer are actually on the same page with me in this desire to refocus on U.S. clubs.

This is not fun for me to write. I, Norm Cates, the 1st President of IHRSA and a Co-founder of the Association, with Rick Caro and 5 others in 1981, would much rather be reporting nothing but great things about IHRSA to you. But, if I did, I would be lying to you. This is not a good situation for the health, racquet and sports club industry in the United States because this industry is in disarray and needs a leading organization to move it forward. Were I Joe Moore, the great fellow that replaced John McCarthy almost three years ago, I would urge the IHRSA Board of Directors to hire Thomas Plummer immediately as a consultant and listen to what this man is saying because he is right with his diagnosis of IHRSA, and he has some excellent and specific ideas about how to reorganize it.

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