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Q&A


Barton is known for his flamboyance


York. Each market is different. The Miami club was really for the jet set [this later moved from the Delano hotel to the Gansevoort South]. The Chelsea gym really put me on the map. With the Upper East Side club I really wanted to build on the personal trainer business – attracting the Upper East Side clientele was quite a different proposition. I had more money to do that, so it really was another experiment in creating an environment that the neighbourhood would respond to.


How would you describe the décor of your clubs – and how important is their design? I don’t think it’s so much about décor as about emotion. I’m trying to get an emotional response from members and trying to stimulate their imagination. I try to get them to really focus on how they can look at the end of the process


David Barton Chicago was the fourth club to open


[of getting fit]. I’m in the business of selling something a lot of people don’t really like: they don’t really want to exercise, but they love the results they can get and they love the idea of having a new body. When someone new comes in, they tend to imagine how they will look on day two. We really try to get their imagination stimulated, to help them think about how they will look three months down the line. It’s a sexy environment in our gyms,


it’s stimulating and it’s fun. It’s also comfortable and inviting – people want to stay there and hang out. I’ve got to draw people in and make them have a good time while they are there, and also make them really want to exercise. They should enjoy doing it and feel good about it. I want members to think about those changes to their body and their goals, what they want to look like and what they are trying to achieve from working out.


Why do people love your clubs? It’s like going to a great party – my gyms have great people, great surroundings, great music. You get high on endorphins, but instead of waking up with a hangover you wake up and look in the mirror and you look better naked. Who wouldn’t love that?


You went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. Have you now emerged from this? Yes, we emerged from Chapter 11 earlier this year after six months.


Why do you think you went into Chapter 11? We were in part a victim of bad timing, expanding during a time when the economy was changing drastically. Chapter 11 was a difficult thing to go through, but we’ve come out with a much healthier business. It helped us to restructure. Luckily my members and investors stuck with me through the process, so in the end it was a very positive thing for us. We teamed up with Meridien on the


three new locations and we hope to do more with them. It’s been a great partnership so far. Right now, it’s just an operational partnership. Meridien is not a capital partner.


Clubs are designed to create a sexy environment – stimulating and fun 78 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital


You’ve just opened a club in Las Vegas and are opening two more in LA this summer. What can we expect from the new clubs? Our new club in Las Vegas is beautiful – people love it. Los Angeles is a great market for me. I’m a New Yorker but I’ve always dreamed of having gyms in LA – it’s where the whole workout thing started. The new clubs will be more of


october 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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