EP Fitness, one of El Paso’s oldest and largest fitness clubs, is being acquired by a California company, which plans renovations.
The sale to Chuze Fitness, a 13-year-old, family-owned fitness-club chain based in San Diego, is expected to be final by the end of November. The sale price is not being disclosed.
EP Fitness, with five locations, was started almost 37 years ago by Scott Kubitz, a former University of Texas at El Paso football player and former bodybuilder.
Chuze “shares our same values and goals,” which makes this an “exciting milestone for EP Fitness,” Kubitz said in a statement. He was not immediately available to talk about the sale.
Cory Brightwell, Chuze co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a phone interview that El Paso’s “been on our radar as a market we wanted to be in.”
El Paso’s demographics and growth are similar to other cities Chuze operates, Brightwell said.
Acquiring EP Fitness is a good way to not only get into El Paso, but also into Texas, he said.
Brightwell, 40, was born in Houston, where most of his family originated, and grew up in San Antonio, he said.
Chuze has 33 locations in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico, and has six locations under construction in California, Colorado and Arizona. It has 330,000 members and $95 million in sales so far this year, Brightwell said.
This is the company’s first acquisition and company officials are considering other acquisitions as a way to grow faster, he said. Brightwell and four other family members own Chuze.
Chuze plans to retain EP Fitness’ employees, which number between 85 and 100, Brightwell said.
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Some EP Fitness locations will be renovated next year, and converted to the Chuze brand as the renovations are completed, Brightwell said.
Chuze has swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms in some of its locations, and some of those amenities may be added in some El Paso locations, Brightwell said.
Chuze memberships range from $10 per month to $30 per month, depending on amenities, he said.
The fitness club industry is recovering from the pandemic, which resulted in many fitness centers closing across the United States, Brightwell said. That’s brought opportunities for Chuze and other fitness-club chains to expand.
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The national Planet Fitness and Everytime Fitness chains have many locations in the El Paso area. An Austin-based franchise of the Crunch Fitness chain in July opened a large new fitness center in Northeast El Paso, with more El Paso locations planned. And many other small national and local fitness clubs are located here.
“I think there’s a decent amount of opportunity in the fitness space still for really tapping into part of the population that isn’t currently a gym member or never had a gym membership,” Brightwell said. About 60% of a city’s population, he average, has no fitness-club membership, industry data show, he said.
“With the growth that El Paso’s seeing, I absolutely see the opportunity to add (new) locations over time,” and in nearby Las Cruces as well, he said.
Vic Kolenc can be reached at 546-6421; firstname.lastname@example.org; @vickolenc on Twitter.