06 Jul 2022 World leisure: news, training & property
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Health Club Management
2021 issue 11

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Leisure Management - John Reed

New opening

John Reed

With a business model that fuses art, fitness and music, RSG’s flagship brand – John Reed – has opened its first location in the UK, as Liz Terry reports

The opening in London’s Liverpool Street comes after launches in LA and Rotterdam earlier in 2021 photo: RSG Group
RSG has taken prime space for John Reed London, to promote the retail operation photo: RSG Group
Graffiti by resident artist, Pref, adorns the strength training area photo: RSG Group
The street-level retail space is a first for RSG photo: RSG Group
The machine strength training zone photo: RSG Group
Luxury changing rooms. Members get a free towel service photo: RSG Group
The cardio zone at John Reed London, with eponymous graphics and quirky artwork photo: RSG Group

Health club brand John Reed is RSG Group’s most high-end offering, sitting atop a vast fitness business that has 6.4 million members, 41,000 employees, 16 brands and 1,000 locations in 48 countries (and counting).

Speaking exclusively to HCM recently, RSG Group CEO, Rainer Schaller said: “John Reed is a very special and specific fitness experience for an audience that’s inspired by music, art, fitness and lifestyle.

“At all our John Reed locations globally, we link the fitness environment inside the club to the vibe and ethos of the community around it, and all our new sites will also follow in these design footsteps.

“Large cities play a strong role as centres of vibrant societies, as well as being birthplaces of new music and art genres, and so they’re a focus of our international planning.”

True to this mission, the company is rolling out John Reed aggressively in major cities around the world, with London being the latest location, after openings in Los Angeles in March and Rotterdam in July.

These will be followed by clubs in Zurich and Istanbul, as well as France where – says Schaller – the company will open up three different concepts. “One will be in the 16th arrondissement of Paris and be exclusively for women and in addition to a large spa," he explains. “The club will set new standards in design, with contemporary African art pieces.”

The second is a 37,000sq ft site in the So Ouest department store – located in Levallois-Perret, near Paris. “This will adopt the theme of the Asian lucky cat and will include a lucky cat store, collaborations with artists to design individual lucky cats, and much more,” he explains. The third location will be in the city of Lyon. “This will be a regular John Reed Fitness Music Club,” confirm Schaller. All three sites in France are currently under construction.

New location in London
Situated in Liverpool Street, London, at the heart of the financial district, the new John Reed takes full advantage of its high-profile location, with a retail store at street level and the club ranged around the vast basement level below.

Few health club operators have aspired to this kind of premium real estate and the decision to go large and visible with the location signals RSG’s confidence in the brand and its bold intentions for the new London operation – the 40th John Reed to open globally across 10 countries.

The retailing operation is a first for the company and is targeted at passing trade as well as members. “We know our members love to dress up for their workout,” says Schaller, “so for the first time ever we’ve integrated a unique fashion retail space in our flagship London club, creating a new shopping experience.”

Athletic brands such as Lapp by Leomie Anderson and Fabletics are available, as well as gear from RSG brand Gold’s Gym. Customers have the option of “testing the durability, flexibility and quality of the clothing” in a workout area on the retailing floor before purchasing, while products can also be QR scanned and ordered online.

Fitness fusion
John Reed is being promoted as ‘London’s first-ever Fitness Music Club’, with a strapline “More than a gym – it’s a living work of art”. A nightclub vibe is coupled with a backdrop of street art-inspired decor by resident artist Pref (www.HCMmag.com/Pref), while regular live music and DJ sets happen throughout the week and ‘playlist powered’ themed nights bring another dimension to the club (www.HCMmag.com/JohnReed).

A John Reed Radio station is also freely available via an app that can be downloaded from the app store.

Schaller says: “John Reed is designed for those who want to train hard and have fun, in an environment where music is the central element.

“We’re disrupting the status quo with design – it’s a gym you actually want to spend time in.”

Launch offer
To celebrate the launch of the London club, John Reed partnered with Lapp by Leomie Anderson for a launch party to coincide with London Fashion Week. The collection was choreographed by celebrity dancer, Kash Powell, and guests enjoyed a performance from Hot Hot singer Bree Runway.

The brand has also been warming up the London market with a launch offer based on free trials which give potential members a taster of the John Reed experience and are enabling the company to collect contacts for ongoing membership marketing.

All memberships are then sold in two categories, with one-month rolling contracts at £140/month for a gold membership and £120/month for basic, while annual contracts are £100/month for basic and £120/month for basic flex.

There’s a £100 joining fee and a four-week notice period to cancel on the annual contracts, past which time an additional year’s membership is triggered. All contracts have a one-off sign-up fee of £100 – unusual for the UK market.

The nightclub ethos doesn’t extend to the opening hours, however, which are a wholesome Monday to Friday from 6.00am to 10.00pm, Saturday from 8.00am to 8.00pm and Sunday from 11.00am to 5.00pm.

What’s the core offer at John Reed London?
John Reed London has specially designed areas dedicated to key areas such as functional training, boxing and cardio, as well as a large free weights section and also machine strength training. The workout mix is completed by studios which are used for both class-based offerings and personal training.

Gym 80 and Precor are among the equipment partners of choice, while Magicline software from Sport Alliance has been installed to run the operation.

All club-based group fitness classes are choreographed in-house by John Reed’s own creative teams and accompanied by curated music playlists, while 300 virtual Cyberobics live classes, group workouts and hot yoga classes are also available to members every week.

On the wellness front, the club has a hot yoga studio and a specialist barre studio, as well as separate men’s and women’s saunas for post-workout relaxation.

And the extras?
Every John Reed member is entitled to a free personal training session to explore potential programmes before committing and the club has a team of resident PTs to deliver this service.

Members also get a free towel service, as well as unlimited electrolyte drinks and body composition analysis.

Growth plans for the brand
So what’s next for the brand once the current pipeline of clubs has been opened? Schaller says growth is being carefully considered: “We’ll continue to look for opportunities to grow the John Reed footprint,” he explains, “however, although there are numerous locations that make sense at this point, we’ll take our time so as not to compromise the authenticity of the brand or the experience, just for the sake of growth. We know we have to find exactly the right locations.”

The RSG Group hit the health and fitness market hard with a high-profile launch for John Reed in London. Here’s what was on offer:

• A choice of four free workouts including boxing, HIIT, Strong Barre and Rocket Yoga, against the backdrop of beats by Berlin DJs, Gunnar Stiller and Juliet Fox

• Post-workout CBD cocktails and mocktails by Intune drinks and cool-down treats from Pan-n-Ice ice cream (www.pan-n-ice.co.uk)

• Live art and the chance to take home exclusive limited edition T-shirts designed by resident graffiti artist, Pref (HCMmag.com/Pref)

• Free manicures with designs inspired by the gym’s designer decor

• A Brick Lane Vintage Record retail pop-up

Originally published in Health Club Management 2021 issue 11

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