Fireman Capital Boosts Anytime Fitness Operator Bandon
Bandon Holdings owns this Anytime Fitness gym in Boerne, Texas, plus 37 more units.
Bandon Holdings, the biggest franchisee in the Anytime Fitness system with 38 gyms, has gained a majority investment from private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners that will allow the Texas-based partnership to become even larger.
Bandon Co-CEO Jeff Kiecke said he and his business partner, Brian Portner, began acquiring Anytime Fitness gyms in 2012 and kept going, buying and building stores primarily in Texas as well as Oklahoma and Kansas. Capital, as Kiecke puts it, became “generally constrained” over the years.
“We got to a point last year, where Brian and I had been doing everything on our own. It got to a spot we needed to bring in a partner to help our entity grow, and provide financial support,” he said, adding this is the first entry of private equity backing a franchisee in the Anytime Fitness system.
“It was new for everyone. Luckily corporate was easy to work with,”he said. Brookwood Associates in Atlanta was Bandon’s investment banker.
Kiecke said Fireman Capital has experience in other consumer businesses, and it’s a firm “where the personalities meshed and the vision aligned. We wanted to find someone that could take this to the next scale.”
Both with finance backgrounds, Kiecke and Portner were new to franchise operations when they bought into the Anytime Fitness system. They’ve created a “hub and spoke”model, with a base in Dallas and a build-up of area managers who can then be called upon to oversee more clubs.
“I think long-term we’d like to be a 100-unit operator. I don’t know if that’s two, three, four or five years down the road,” he said. He said he likes the system because “you have a franchise base that’s extremely loyal,” with hundreds of operators sporting the Anytime’s running man tattoo, and “we didn’t realize at the time that you have such very involved founders,” in Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen, co-founders of the Woodbury, Minnesota-based Anytime Fitness.