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| CBI Interview | CBI: Two years ago, in 2013, you embarked on a major rebranding, with the intention of bringing all your facilities together beneath the umbrella of a single brand. Why did that seem necessary? We regard employee equity as an important recruiting and retention tool. It’s certainly unique in the fitness indus- try, and it’s been a great way for us to attract and hold on to the talent we want. I can’t disclose the specific per- centages we award, but our culture is one that rewards people for their con- tributions to what we deliver in the marketplace, and for wanting to grow their careers with the Bay Club. It’s a great way to incentivize our associates. LG: The rebranding was designed to grow the business. Each unit had its own name and identity, but, having decided to expand, we thought it wise to bundle the clubs together—to consolidate our identity in the market, and to offer more cross-club utilization for members. Reducing the public’s confusion about who we are, and what we offer, has improved consumers’ understanding of the brand and their awareness of our locations, and increased membership sales. Since CBI: In the past, you’ve said that you’re modeling what the tech industry has done—appropriate, perhaps, since your corporate offices in San Francisco are just 50 miles from Silicon Valley. Are “We don’t have a specified number of clubs that we want to build or acquire. We don’t want to just roll out boxes. What we do want to do is make sure we pursue deals that mesh with our strategy, and with our demographic and socioeconomic targets.” we went through this exercise, we’ve grown from 10 to 24 clubs. Annie Appel, our executive vice president of marketing, played an integral role in our rebranding efforts. the campus and equity concepts part of that? LG: Yes. In the tech industry, many companies have created campuses that attempt to integrate work, eating, exercise, and relaxation. The Bay Club Company has taken the same approach by offering employee ownership and bundled clubs, which give staff a sense of connectedness, and give members access to the wealth of amenities beneath the Bay Club umbrella. CBI: Then, last year, you and your management team oversaw what was perhaps the most dramatic change in the company’s nearly 40-year history—acquiring the company with the assistance of York Capital Management, LLC. So, who owns what? LG: York is the majority equity partner, and management owns 20%. And when I say “management,” I’m referring to more than 100 people—general manag- ers, club managers, and individuals with director-level positions. 38 Club Business International | SEPTEMBER 2015 CBI: Have there been any key management changes since the management buyout? LG: The Bay Club is still in growth mode, so we’re taking steps to | ihrsa.org strengthen the organization, including our senior executive team. We’ve added Leanne Kamekona, who serves as executive chef and vice president of food and beverage; Chris Reiss, as COO; Mark Koorenny, as general counsel; and Bobbi Quick, as executive vice president of operations for South- ern California. Leanne brings the hospitality expertise she acquired at St. Regis Princeville, the La Quinta Resort & Club, and the Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa into the Bay Club’s social sphere. Chris and Mark both came from top-tier law firms that we were doing business with, and put us in a great position to handle the “block-and- tackle” work associated with growth, e.g., better due diligence to ensure that every opportunity is a good fit, considered from every angle. Bobbi, a 24-year veteran of 24 Hour Fitness, helps us attract the top talent we want, and does a great job of run- ning the Southern California region. CBI: Growth mode—obviously. Last year, you acquired the prestigious StoneTree Golf Club, in Novato, California, and, this year, purchased 11 Spectrum Athletic Club facilities. We’d love to hear your growth plan. LG: We’ll continue to expand and push the boundaries of fitness and hospital- ity into the East Bay area, and search for swim, tennis, beach, and golf properties to partner with in Southern California. We also plan to move into the Seattle, Washington, and Denver, Colorado, markets. We don’t have a specified number of clubs that we want to build or acquire. We don’t want to just roll out boxes. What we do want to do is make sure we pursue deals that mesh with our strategy, and with our demographic and socioeco- nomic targets. CBI: Elaborate on that a bit, if you would. LG: We’re looking at properties that work with our “four-quadrant” strat- Download the Free IHRSA App: ihrsa.org/app