With 16 locations stretching from Newport Beach to the recently opened Westlake Village location in Oak Park, the New York–based Equinox Fitness is finding the Southern California market quite hospitable. Equinox’s SVP of Real Estate, John Klein, recently talked about the new location and provided some insight into the company’s expansion aspirations for the future.
CSQ What distinguishes your 16 Southern California locations from other areas in – and outside – the country?
JOHN KLEIN From a design perspective, no two clubs are alike. However, there will always be a common thread with our modern, sophisticated approach to design. We have an incredibly talented in-house design team who takes time to understand the visual sensibilities and local aesthetic of each new market, which are incorporated into each new club. Each new development has a different lead architect, which ensures uniqueness and freshness of the interpretation of our brand through visual design.
CSQ How has steady expansion refined or changed the company’s brand identity?
JK Our rapid expansion really hasn’t altered the Equinox brand DNA; the two are mutually exclusive. The brand’s identity is established on substance – our commitment to our members’ receiving the best, high-performance services, the luxury experience, and results – while also enjoying a bit of irreverence in our brand voice. Growth has simply made this elevated experience available to more people in markets that demand it.
CSQ Is there a saturation point in terms of locations for Southern California? Where do you draw the line between exclusivity and accessibility?
JK When I first started pursuing locations in SoCal in 2002, I estimated our total club count at 10-12 locations. Fast forward to today, we have 16 clubs open with 4 more in the pipeline. What happens in every major city is markets evolve and improve due to shifts in demographics and/or gentrification of older markets. Downtown LA is a great example; we would have never thought to open a club in DTLA back in 2002. However, with the recent renaissance of the residential market as well as the improving office sector, our 444 S. Flower St. club is incredibly successful.