CHANHASSEN, MN-A new fitness center concept has sprung up within the past few years, with a small footprint and 24-hour accessibility, to rival other upstarts and big-box gymnasiums. The 4-year-old Snap Fitness company, based here, has 1,690 franchised locations either open or under construction, with a goal of 2,000 locations by 2009. The company is seeing dozens of clubs open each month.

The $16 billion fitness center industry has seen many different styles of gym open, from the first membership clubs to the big-box Lifetime Fitness giants, and from the male-intensive Gold’s Gym to the females-only Curves. Snap CEO and founder Peter Taunton tells that his niche is size, and ease of use. “We typically run from 2,500 to 3,500 sf, much smaller than the average fitness center,” he says. “With that small footprint, we’re more flexible on the real estate, we can be in your neighborhood strip center, next to the Subway and Blockbuster.”

Weights, treadmills, and exercise machines are offered at Snap. Though the size doesn’t allow a member all the frills that some clubs have, such as pools, running tracks, gymnasiums, climbing walls, racquetball courts or even large locker rooms, the flexibility is what Taunton says allows the company to offer its other weapon: proximity. “Ninety percent of our members (the company claims it’s served 400,000 people) live within two miles of our clubs. It’s right around the corner,” he says. “You come home, you can grab your gear and zip out to our center, get a good workout and be home again quickly,” Taunton says. The clubs are staffed during the day, but members can request a key card to get in during late hours, and cameras and call buttons are available at each center.

Franchisees own most of the Snap centers. “We have 10 company-owned locations,” Taunton says. The properties are spread throughout the US and Canada, as well as India, and “we’re looking into other global markets,” he says.

Center memberships start at around $1 per day, with a one-time $49 enrollment fee, with no contracts. Though the monthly fee isn’t too much lower than a membership at the larger clubs, any little bit that can be saved helps in this economy, Taunton says. “We know that despite these hard times, people know they need to eat sensibly and move their feet. If they can dial their membership back a little, that’s good too.”

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.


GlobeSt Net Lease Spring 2024Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.