TRACY SHANNON, 40, of Blue Bell, is president and co-owner of SWEAT Fitness, which has six gyms in Philadelphia and two in the burbs. Shannon, a Temple grad and a married mother of three young boys, has been with SWEAT since its first location opened in 1997 and has been heading up all operations since.
Q: How'd you land at SWEAT?
A: I was working at a club and met my business partner [Dan Neducsin], who told me he was opening a SWEAT at 24th and Walnut. I'd finished college with a degree in exercise science and SWEAT offered me a job.
Q: Did you buy into the biz?
A: For the first year I just worked there, and when [Neducsin] said he was opening a second one, I said I wanted to be a shareholder. I took out a loan my grandfather co-signed. I can't give you a precise number, but it was more than $100,000.
Q: The biz model?
A: We have eight facilities and each one has its own personality. You can go month-to-month or daily, or you can do a year or you can pay for a pack of classes. Daily is $15, monthly is $45 and an annual membership is $540, but we give you two additional months on the back end if you commit to a year.
Q: What differentiates SWEAT from its competitors?
A: It's our passion and we stay up-to-date on the industry. I go to New York, Miami, California and ECA World Fitness. Our goals, where we invest our money, come from our members' input. Towel service is a must for our members. It's very costly, but we're going to give our members what they want.
Q: Your target market?
A: Anybody who's 18 to 65. At 15th and Arch, we have a large saltwater pool. It's amazing. If you have arthritis and can still swim, the salt feels incredible. I would say we have about 40 percent male, 60 percent female.
A: Over 15,000, and 90 percent are annual members.
Q: How many employees?
A: We have about 300 employees, 80 are full-time and the rest are part-time instructors, Group X, cycling instructors, personal trainers and maintenance. We're a million-dollar company.
Q: What's been the biggest challenge growing the biz?
A: We have many stakeholders: Investors, partners, board members, employees and customers. I have a lot of people to please, and all want something. It's a balancing act.
Q: What's next?
A: Keep strengthening our financials and then expand. It would be nice to find two more locations by the end of 2015.