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New Design for Welcyon Aims for Upscale Clientele


The new workout room design for Welcyon fitness clubs.

Welcyon, the Edina, Minnesota-based chain of health clubs for people over 50, has a new design executives hope will appeal to choosy baby boomer clients with sophisticated tastes.

Welcyon’s two newest clubs, franchised units in Burnsville, Minnesota, and Boise, Idaho, debuted the design in January, and it will be the standard for all future clubs.

Welcyon started in 2010, founded by Tom and Suzy Boerboom and backed by investor Paul Contris of Scottsdale, Arizona. They have two corporate units and five franchised, in Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Idaho.

Why create a new design so early in the brand’s life? “We feel our clientele is a sophisticated group of people, so we felt we needed to up our game,” CEO Suzy Boerboom said.

The original design was more medical, with white fitness equipment from their Finnish manufacturer (now a brushed nickel color) and a blue and cream color scheme, perhaps reflecting the Boerbooms’ background in healthcare. Suzy is a registered nurse and Tom is a long-time healthcare executive.

Also, Boerboom wanted a turnkey package for franchisees, who previously sourced their own furniture and fixtures. “We feel like we’ve gotten the marketing piece, the buildout piece, the operational piece, and the training piece turnkey at this point,” she said. “But the whole design and décor was not turnkey.”

The cost for buildout is about $40,000 all told, up about 20 percent from the previous design, depending on the state of each site.

Health club designer Bruce Carter created the new interior décor package, for a price tag for Welcyon of about $20,000, Boerboom said. He has designed clubs for major chains including Fitness Evolution, Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym, and for hotel chains like the Sheraton, Hilton and Westin.

He aimed to create an inviting lobby “that creates a sense of separation from the workout area. It’s relaxing, so you’re not overwhelmed by the sense that you’ve got to jump right in and start exercising,” he said. He used nature graphics and other elements to aim for a more spa-like atmosphere than existing clubs.

Boerboom said he also found vendors with affordable prices, because they were mindful of keeping costs down for franchisees. Early reviews, in Burnsville and Boise, show that clients like the waterwall in the lobby and the soft lighting throughout, she said.




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Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
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