United PF First to Cross 100-Club Line for Planet Fitness
Trey Owen, CEO of United PF Partners, at the celebration last fall for crossing the 100-club mark for the Planet Fitness gym brand.
“Somebody was going to get there, and it was a real privilege to be the first one to hit that milestone,” says Trey Owen, speaking about United PF Partners surpassing the 100-club mark this past fall and becoming the first Planet Fitness franchisee to break that barrier.
Flash back to November 2, 2016, when Owen played point guard in combining five different franchisee groups including his own into one company, United PF Partners based in Austin and backed by Eagle Merchant Partners and JLM Financial Partners. United PF had 58 clubs then and the three entities won a Franchise Times Dealmakers award in 2017 for the complicated transaction.
Reached in late December, he said, “As we literally sit here today we have 112 locations, with another seven to open before the end of the year. So kind of a mad rush to the end of 2018, when we anticipate 118 clubs.”
Owen likes to challenge his management team and operating partners to think about “not just today, but envision ourselves having 50 clubs, 100 clubs, 1,000 clubs, and operate in that mindset.” Because United PF is the biggest Planet Fitness franchisee, “we can’t emulate someone else, so one of the things is we can find people that have seen this movie, and they can help us reach our organizational goals.”
He cited among others Shelli Taylor, brought on in 2017 as COO and with experience in Starbucks and Disney. “She was the senior VP of operations, running their entire retail operation in China” for Starbucks, Owen said.
He also cited Brian Kelly, new CFO, who with other firms including jewelry retailer Kendra Scott has done “hundreds of lease negotiations, over a billion in transactions…someone who has been through a growth story as CFO and understands” what it takes.
McCall Gosselin, VP of PR and communications for Planet Fitness, says it was “an easy decision” to approve the original deal creating United PF as well as a series of acquisitions and organic growth that have followed. “United PF Partners is a very successful group in the system and one other franchisees look up to,” she said. “They are a great representation of the brand. We’re thrilled to see their success and their continued growth.”
Owen says he’s not done growing the company, but he doesn’t like to name numbers. “We have lofty goals of what we’re trying to accomplish. We don’t want to put a ceiling on where we could be.”