HCM Handbook_2019

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PROJECT PROFILES

The Age of INDEPENDENTS

Outdoor areas, virtual memberships and concepts aimed at different markets – independent operators are keeping pace with the big boys. Kath Hudson reports FORGOTTEN GEN

Club W Entrepreneur and industry veteran Tony de Leede is targeting what he describes as a forgotten generation, with huge potential – women over 50 – with his latest venture, Club W. The first 400sq m (4,300sq ft) site launched in Sydney, Australia, in March 2018, and now boasts more members over 70 years than under 30. Targeting more mature women, who don’t want to train 168

HCM Handbook 2019

in the traditional sense but who want to remain in the best health possible, Club W is a place to make friends, be active, find new hobbies and learn how to stay well. To make people feel at home, staff act like hosts, even accompanying nervous members to classes, while seasoned members are encouraged to buddy up with newbies in return for free memberships, which usually cost AUS$19.50 a week (€12m, $14m, £11). “Club W aims to be a third space where women can immerse themselves in wellness, where they can recharge, restore and connect with others,” says de Leede.

Seasoned members buddy up with newbies in return for free Club W gym memberships

“I refer to it as a second home based on community and activity, where you feel comfortable and safe.” There are four exercise studios and, to keep an intimate feel, each is limited to 12 people. They are equipped with virtual Wexer screens and LED lighting, while scents are diffused into the room. de Leede has put together a bespoke programme of www.HCMhandbook.com