Like some of the members testimonies posted on the walls and on the company’s website, the Curves women’s fitness facility in Elmira is undergoing a transformation of its own. Under new ownership as of Aug. 1, the facility in the Birdland Plaza is set for a makeover, including new signage, updated workout equipment and the introduction of a new technology called ‘Smart Equipment.’
“The stage has been set at this Curves location and now we are just trying to take it a bit further, to expand our client base a bit,” said new owner Deanne MacIntosh.
After 10 years of leadership by self-starter Shelley Cassel, the franchise is now under the guidance of fitness fanatic MacIntosh, who has 10 years of experience working for Curves. For the last four years, she’s been the owner of a Kitchener location.
“After 10 years I was ready for something different, ready for a new challenge,” explained Cassel. “I put the word out that I was looking to sell the business. The whole process went a lot more quickly than I anticipated, but I was ready.”
MacIntosh made her way to Curves in 2000, after a two-year bout of depression left her with low self-esteem and a negative body image. Curves is the first fitness and weight-loss facility designed for women. It provides one-stop exercise and nutritional information, and the exercises work every major muscle group with strength training, cardio and stretching in just 30 minutes, three times per week.
“A friend told me about Curves and it actually saved my life,” explained the new owner. “It was a manageable, quick and easy workout and the place wasn’t intimidating. I felt safe there.”
Now the Kitchener native has lost 40 pounds, exceeded her fitness goals and is hoping to help women who are in similar situations reach their goals as well, with a host of new opportunities at the local club.
“My goal is to make it easier for women to come in here and make a fitness routine that works for them, and works with their schedule. The new technology we are installing will be a big part of the change.”
The ‘Smart Equipment’ is a feature that MacIntosh tested at the Kitchener location, finding it to be quite effective. To use the device, a member scans their tag and the electronic coach will count their repetitions, check their range of motion and calculate their calories. The coach is designed especially for each client and it remembers every workout. At the end of the workout, simply scan the tag to check your results at the kiosk.
“It’s like having a personal trainer with you at every station,” she enthused. Other changes to the club include some new equipment and longer hours. Previously, the club closed for a couple hours around midday but it will now remain open all day long.
Cassel said that she is looking forward to seeing what MacIntosh will do with the franchise in the coming months.
“I think she will do just fine,” said Cassel. “She has a lot of good skills and experience and I know the club is in good hands.”
As for Cassel herself, the entrepreneur who has been self-employed since the age of 19, the future is an exciting time for change.
“I truly will miss the members at Curves and the relationships I have built,” she said. “But I am looking for another door to open. If that doesn’t happen, I will just have to open it myself.”