Club Insider

Norm's Notes for July 2020

  • For this article, Log In to:
  • View eVersion View eVersion | Download PDF Download PDF

Norm CatesNorm Cates

Hello Everybody! This is your Club Insider Founder and Tribal Leader Since 1993 checking in with our 319th monthly edition of Club Insider.

■To kick this Note off, I want to repeat a phrase you may have heard before... "We're damned GLAD to be here!" First, I want to tell all of you that my prayers have been, and are, with you all and your club(s) with a sincere hope in my mind and heart that you've been healthy throughout the awful COVID-19 Pandemic. Now, I hope that you are able to reopen your club(s) and that your operation is successfully on what I know may well be a long and tough path to returning to normal. One thing I think we should all keep in mind is that our industry is certainly not the only industry in America that's taken a real hard punch in the face from this pandemic. Think of the airline industry. Think of the hotel/resort industry. Think of the automobile industry.

Importantly, I believe that our industry has an "Ace in the Hole." That ace is that our industry is loaded with people like you who are reading this... smart, creative, determined and hard working owners and operators of clubs across the land, and it is you folks who will dig in and do whatever is necessary to rebuild your businesses and make them profitable again. YES... I know it has not been and won't be easy! But, YES... I also know that you owners of health and fitness clubs all across America don't just like your club(s)... you LOVE your club(s) and you LOVE the people you serve. To me, that's truly our industry's "Ace in the Hole..." Your absolute LOVE for what you do and your LOVE of the people you serve in your clubs. And, my honest belief is THEY LOVE YOU BACK!

And, it's with that thought that I close this missive by urging you all to reach out to your members. If it is still necessary, set up an outdoor meeting area and invite and meet with each and every one of them and energize them to help you bring back your club(s) to where they were before this pandemic hit and to help you find all the new members you possibly can to join your club(s). Don't just get out of bed tomorrow, go to your club and try to do this alone without help. Pick two of your key staff members, then you three teammates pick a Top 10 List of Members to be on your Re-Opening Team. Invite those members to become part of your Top 10 for Club Growth Committee. Together, as a determined TEAM, ya'll can make this happen!

Yes, I know that many of you have already reopened your club(s), and if so, these ideas can still be of help to you as you dig out of the whole in your wallet that this pandemic has caused. ATTACK THIS CHALLENGE LIKE A MIDDLE LINEBACKER. SPEAK OUT... TELL YOUR MEMBERS THE TRUTH! TELL THEM WHY YOU NEED THEIR HELP. Then, WORK YOUR TAIL OFF and DONT LOOK BACK! YOU CAN DO IT! Folks, I just said a little prayer for all of you. If you're a person who believes in a higher power, then you can't go wrong right now by saying your own little prayer. GOD BLESS YOU ALL!!!

A belated Happy Independence Day, Folks! I'm writing this on the morning of the 4th of July. Is AMERICA a GREAT COUNTRY or WHAT!? Looking back on the history of our great America, we've faced some huge challenges: The Revolutionary War, The Civil War, World War I and World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the 9/11 Attacks, just to name a few. America has dealt with them and survived. And, we WILL survive this pandemic and the current social unrest in America caused by the senseless killing of George Floyd.

As we all deal with these multiple crises, day in and day out, I want to urge each of you to think about the path you took to get where you are today. Think about the challenges in your life that you have ALREADY conquered! Take great pride in overcoming the adversities you've experienced in your life. And, never, ever forget that each and every one of those challenges you faced head on, and overcame during your life, are challenges that made you stronger, made you smarter and made you better prepared for the very challenges I'm writing about Americans facing today. Right now, you ARE better and more prepared for adversity than you have ever been in your life! Don't EVER forget that. TOGETHER... WE WILL SURVIVE! And... never, ever forget that AMERICA is a GREAT COUNTRY, and we're ALL lucky to be here!

To close this Note, Be sure to check out the Norm's Note at the very end of this writing in which Marietta Daily Journal author DAVID CARROLL shares 40 Reasons to Love the USA. I've shared the first ten reasons in this issue, and you can view the rest at

■Welcome to new Club Insider Advertiser, John Janszen and REME HALO, the in-duct air purifier that boasts a 99% disinfectant rate. Check out their Press Release and Ad on Page #13. To learn more about REME HALO and get it plugged into your HVAC system, contact John Janszen by phone at (513) 616 - 3369 or email at

■This month, we also welcome long-time advertiser, Visual Fitness Planner, to our Premium Page #5 position. Just over 15 years ago, DARON ALLEN and MARIO BRAVOMALO took the industry by storm with their VFP product. Since then, it has evolved to become a full sales system called VFPnext for your health and fitness club facility. Check out the VFP Ad on Page #5.

■And, this month, we welcome two new Contributing Authors! A warm welcome to SUMIT SETH, Co-Founder of Naamly, a member experience platform designed for modern training gyms. Sumit is a strong believer in the power of human connections and had successfully built one of the fastest growing and largest staffing firms by focusing on creating long term relationships. He exited the venture to focus on his health, reconnect with family and found solace in fitness which led him to start Naamly. Naamly helps fitness studios impact more lives in their communities by building deeper member relationships to drive business success. Check out Sumit's first Club Insider Article on Page #16. Welcome back to ERIC DURAK, President of Medical Health and Fitness. Eric is a long-time industry educator and consultant. He's the 1999 IHRSA Institute Award Winner (with SBAC) for the Cancer Wellfit Program, and he has spoken frequently at industry conferences for over 30 years. Check out Erik's Article is on Page #20.

Our good friends at Club Industry are moving to St. Louis, Missouri, and they have their always great Conference and Trade Show scheduled for October 14 - 16th, 2020. The Club Industry conference program runs Wednesday through Friday and features themes suited to all facets of the fitness and wellness industry. We urge you to make plans to attend! To register, go to

CHUCK and JOSH LEVE have announced and are preparing for their second SUCCEED! Online Event, coming in October. On July 7, 2020, the Leves announced the SUCCEED! Virtual Online Event, October 23 - 25th. They intend to build on the great success of their May event that attracted over 4,400 attendees. Here's what their SUCCEED! Press Release had to say:

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Supported by marketing alliances with leading fitness organizations, high impact vendors, and several certifying organizations, the October event promises even greater participatory growth.

"We struck an industry-wide, educational chord in May. The incredible turnout is indicative of the impact of COVID-19 and the desire of our audience to learn from each other on how to deal with it. We've expanded our agenda for October as we learn of more reopening strategies." said Josh Leve, AFS Founder and CEO.

The SUCCEED! Virtual Online Event will also feature the fitness industry's first bonafide virtual expo, with true exhibitors and the opportunity to interact with the over 5,000 anticipated attendees. As in May, the education will highlight the best of AFS and SUCCEED! presenters, a virtual 'swag bag' for all attendees, CECs/CEUs and a free admission option. Beyond the marketing assistance from the major groups already mentioned, SUCCEED! October will also feature pre-Conference education, sponsor presentations and interactive networking opportunities. Participating companies will also be spreading the word to help build the event, meaning the promotional effort will reach over 500,000 unique viewers. More information on the October SUCCEED! Virtual Online Event can be found at

24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, Inc. recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The San Ramon, California-based company announced the closing of 130 gyms in the U.S. The chain expects to secure about $250 million in funding to help their remaining 300 locations. The company released the following comment:

"24 Hour Fitness is dedicated to the health and wellness of our members, our team and the communities we serve and has been for more than 35 years. With the dramatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and the fitness industry, we are announcing a financial restructuring through a voluntary Chapter 11 filing that we expect will make us a stronger company. We will continue reopening clubs with a focus on uninterrupted service to our members, and we'll be able to reinvest in existing clubs, open new clubs and offer new innovations to better serve you long into the future. If it were not for COVID-19 and its devastating effects, we would not be filing for Chapter 11. With that said, we intend to use the process to strengthen the future of 24 Hour Fitness for our team and club members, as well as our stakeholders." said TONY UEBER, 24 Hour Fitness CEO in a statement to Business Insider.

■Out of Deerfield Beach, Florida: YouFit Health Clubs began as a family venture in 2008 and grew to over a hundred locations under the direction of Rick Berks as CEO with his daughter Christy Berks-Stross. Both have resigned from their positions within the company and as Board Members citing philosophical differences with the financial partners.

■I received the following from my good friend, veteran club sales expert, GARY POLIC today, and I want to share it with you all. I asked Gary to tell us about his new club consulting company's WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.

Gary responded: I'm excited to announce the launching of Polic Consultants Group, LLC.

WHO: We are a Fitness Club Consulting Group consisting of a diversified group of accomplished and award-winning club business veterans. Each consultant has successful, proven experience relating to their field of expertise. It's your "one-stop-shop" for all your club needs under one umbrella.

WHAT: We provide a "hands-on" servant leadership style of coaching for your team regarding all of your Club Management, Operations, Recruiting, T&D, Marketing and Sales needs. We differentiate from most other club industry consultants by providing quality, experienced and accomplished consultants at an AFFORDABLE RATE.

WHEN: We are here to HELP ANYTIME day or night!

WHERE: HELP is on its way ANYWHERE in the world!

WHY: There are so many fitness clubs that need the accomplished and experienced guidance from industry veterans with PROVEN track records in order to maximize their profits. As established, experienced and accomplished professionals in the club industry, it's now our time to "GIVE BACK" to the industry by providing our services for an AFFORDABLE RATE. We like to say: "FINALLY... Experienced Quality Consulting that won't break the bank!"

HOW: We provide services that can be utilized in several different formats, such as: webinars, zoom meetings, phone calls or club visits. ALL SUPPORTED by the material needed to implement proven systems and protocol.

Contact Gary Polic - Polic Consultants Group, LLC - "Experienced & Affordable Club Consulting" at (630) 410 - 1120 (office), (708) 635 - 9522 (cell) or To learn more about Polic Consultants Group, go to

■A Marietta Daily Journal author in my community named DAVID CARROLL wrote an article on June 30th entitled 40 Reasons to Love the USA. Since World Class bad news seems to be piling up on wonderful America lately, and I might add, since we celebrated our 244th Anniversary on the 4th of July, I've decided to share David's column with you all, my highly esteemed readers. This month, I am sharing the first ten reasons he lists, and you can see the rest at

  • Thanks to cable TV and YouTube, we can still enjoy Elvis, Johnny Carson, Carol Burnett, Marshall Dillon and Hoss Cartwright, even though few people under 40 know who they are.
  • We have amazing first responders who respond directly to the situations the rest of us are trying to run away from.
  • We have news channels that lean to the left and news channels that lean to the right. And, we are not forced to watch any of them.
  • We have towns called Ducktown, Turtletown, Suck Creek, Gruetli Lauger, Orme, Hogjaw Valley, Rising Fawn, Talking Rock, Peavine, Nutbush. Bell Buckle, Rugby, Greeback, Busksport, Butussle, Flintstone, Burning Bush, Isabella, Box Springs, Rocky Face, Lick Skillet, Butts, Arab, Battlebaugh, Beershebe Springs, and Scratch Ankle. I've been everywhere, man!
  • We have farmers' markets with fresh, homegrown produce.
  • We have the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • They still make Yoohoo, Nehi Grape, Zagnut bars and Sampan Girl Scout Cookies.
  • We have the "Hot Now" sign at Krispy Kreme.
  • We have an American original named Dolly Parton, who shares her good fortune.
  • We have Betty White, Tom Hanks, and Willie Nelson. Not long ago, Willie recorded a song called, I'm Still Not Dead. That's his best title since Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.

JUSTIN and I want to say Thanks for reading Club Insider!

God bless our troops, airmen and sailors worldwide and keep them safe. Thank you, Congratulations and Welcome Home to all of our troops who have served around the world. God bless America's Policemen and women and Firemen and women; keep them safe. God bless our EMTs, first responders, nurses, doctors, lab technicians and anyone who is helping make Coronavirus a thing of the past. You and your families are our warriors. Finally, God bless you, your family, your club(s) and your members. God Bless America! Laus Deo!

Back to Edition

Ohlson Lavoie Corporation