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| IHRSA Report | Success by Association Gold’s Gym SoCal Going Strong The IHRSA factor helped turn the Banos brothers into Gold’s Gym megastars By Joe Halpern A s she worked the membership-development side of things for IHRSA back in the 1990s, Meredith Poppler had the opportunity to meet all types of interesting characters in the fitness industry. But few made a bigger impression than a cer- tain gentleman who was the owner of two highly celebrated Gold’s Gyms in Hollywood. “The first time I met Angel Banos in Los Angeles, in 1991, he was wearing black, from head to toe, including a long leather duster coat. I’d never seen someone in that much leather, and, to be honest, it was scary,” recalls Poppler, who’s now the vice president of industry growth for IHRSA. “But then we started talking, and I realized right away that this was one very smart guy who was really, really hungry for information and knowledge about the industry. He wanted to know everything IHRSA had to offer that would help his business succeed.” The success equation Much has changed since Angel and his brother, Willy, became IHRSA members in 1992. The fitness industry has experienced explosive growth over the Planning for the future: Willy, l., and Angel Banos 194 Club Business International | MARCH 2016 | last two decades, and Gold’s Gym International, Inc. (GGI), based in Dallas, has emerged as the largest full-service club chain in the world, with more than 150 company-owned and 600 franchised locations in 42 states and 30 countries. The Banos brothers, meanwhile, have slowly, but steadily, built a Gold’s Gym franchise empire in South- ern California that’s based in Northridge. Today, with 12 locations, all of which are between 35,000 and 50,000 square feet in size, and located within a three- hour drive of downtown L.A., they operate the largest Gold’s franchise group in the state. Their 1,100 full- time and part-time employees serve a total of 83,000 members, who pay between $39 and $59 per month for their Gold’s memberships. In addition, the brothers have signed an area development agreement with GGI, which will give them more territory in Southern California. As a result, the Banoses are well on the way to reach- ing their goal of $50 million in revenue within the next 18 months. “The plan is to add two to three gyms per year,” says Willy, who serves as vice president and COO. Most recently, the company opened a location in Montclair, and, in January, reopened another facility, which had been completely remodeled. Three more locations are in the works for 2016. “Our goal from the start was to keep the opera- tion growing,” adds Angel, the president and CEO. “We were very fortunate to come into this business at the right time, and surround ourselves with a really talented team.” It’s a remarkable success story for the Banos brothers, who gave up a thriving retail shoe business to start building their Gold’s Gym fran- chise operation in 1988. Their empire has grown organically, financed with their own funds and no outside capital. “We’re honored to have Willy and Angel represent our brand,” says Aaron Watkins, the president of GGI. “You won’t find two more pas- sionate, innovative, and driven individuals. They instill their energy and drive into their entire team. When you combine that with the great facilities they build, the result is a fantastic experience for our members.” Explore, Connect, Succeed! Visit