Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

Bill Aicklen and his brother Bob, who is currently based in Texas, will be opening their fifth Workout Anytime gym in May. The brothers opened their first gym in Decatur in November 2009; bought the company’s flagship store in Dunwoody in 2012; purchased the brand’s first franchise location in Douglasville in 2013, and built their fourth store in Rome in June 2013. 

Bill, 63, received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Old Dominion University in Virginia, and landed his first job in the banking industry working in the operations and financial systems department. From there, Bill moved on to spend the next 30 years of his career in the computer software business, performing various roles including post-sales, training and support. 

In 2006, Bill decided that he wanted to get out of corporate America and Bob, who was interested in investing in businesses, invited Bill to manage the operations. 

The first business that the brothers partnered in was an express oil change franchise. They built and operated two stores in Woodstock before selling in 2012 to focus their time and effort on Workout Anytime

How did you learn about Workout Anytime

We were looking for other business opportunities, and Bob came across Workout Anytime on the Internet. A business broker also presented the concept to us. 

Why did you choose an opportunity with Workout Anytime

From a franchise standpoint, it’s an easy business to get into; it’s simple. There’s not a lot of moving parts and you can staff the gym with just one or two people. Also, we both have strong customer service backgrounds and understand the importance of hiring the right people and providing excellent service. 

How has business been since joining the brand? 

We have between 1000-1700 active members at each location. Since we took over the Douglasville store and invested money into upgrading the equipment, we have turned it around. Our club in Rome is based in a small city with very little competition in terms of big name brands, and we have been very successful there. I expect Suwannee to also do well because it’s in a highly concentrated residential area. 

Are you involved in any charities or community outreach?

We localize our charity work depending on the club, and we usually donate free memberships for silent 
auctions. We also partner with Red Cross by allowing them to park their blood drive buses in our parking lots every quarter – the next drive will be in Douglasville at 3pm on May 12. We have also previously put buckets in our gyms for people to donate pet supplies for the Humane Society.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Franchisee Profile: Duane Brown

Franchisee Profile: Duane Brown

Situated where the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains give way to the Tennessee Valley, Sevierville will be the home of Workout Anytime’s newest facilities, spearheaded by entrepreneur and real estate broker/contractor, Duane Brown.

Brown, 46, is a Maynardville, TN native whose hobbies span martial arts (he’s a black belt) to police work to house restoration. Prior to opening his first roofing company in 2000, Brown worked mostly in construction and as a fitness instructor from 1998-2000. He continued his work in the housing market by receiving his real estate license and becoming a broker. He then elevated his resume to include residential contractor in 2001, which included building houses, investing in real estate and renovating buildings.

Brown’s journey in real estate proved to be a difficult road due to the housing market decline in the 2000s. He struggled keeping the real estate he had purchased, and had seven mortgages under his name. Through strategic planning, and a lot of luck, Brown was able to sell four of his properties and will continue wrapping up his involvement in real estate by selling the rest of his homes and moving to Sevierville to focus on maintaining his Workout Anytime.

Brown was first introduced to Workout Anytime by his bookkeeper while still working as a contractor.  Intrigued, Brown decided to check it out for himself. He drove to Powell, TN and upon entering the center, Brown immediately knew this was the opportunity he was looking for. Ringing up Greg Parker, he signed with the brand and a year and a half later, will be opening his doors this May.

Why did you choose an opportunity with Workout Anytime?
I had thought about franchises in the past but nothing stood out. I used to work at National Fitness and I’ve visited Anytime Fitness, but Workout Anytime blew their facilities out of the water. They both exist in the Sevierville market, but I believe Workout Anytime will appeal to the public here.

What challenges have you overcome to get to where you are now?
The road to business ownership was challenging and stressful. I changed the course of my life at 46 and chose to pursue something else for the rest of my life. I’m currently tying up loose ends that exist within my contracting business and trying to transition my family to a new town, all while opening a business. It’s been a tough road but I’m excited to open and pursue this business.  

Do you have any development/extension plans? Add units? Timeframe?
Ideally I’d like to open two more locations in Sevierville in the next two years.