Small Business Story: Creekside Fitness & Health Stands up to the Competition


The CoverWallet Small Business Scholarship encourages entrepreneurship in students by asking them to take on the perspective of a local small business owner. Students share their perspective on the opportunities and challenges faced by a business in their community.

Student: Samantha Ettinger, Slippery Rock University

Small Business: Creekside Fitness and Health Center

spinning business gym

Imagine a place where you feel accepted, useful, and valued highly. It has an atmosphere of friendly peace, and is clean, reputable, and very spacious. Now, imagine that this place is filled with treadmills, weight sets, and spinning bicycles, and has pleasant, quiet music playing in the background. The people inside the place are sweating, out of breath, and working tirelessly, but they are happy.

The place that I just described is not the everyday fitness center; it is Creekside Fitness and Health Center in Boardman, Ohio. As I alluded to above, this is my favorite local business for many reasons. One additional reason is the multitude of friendly, interesting, and caring patrons that attend the facility. The staff is also friendly, outgoing, and creative in the programs, classes, and incentives offered to the clients. It is a forward-thinking gym, which offers much incentive for potential clients. However, with its appeal, Creekside also faces challenges with competition, maintenance, and operation.

The biggest challenge that Creekside, I believe, is that of Planet Fitness, which offers gym memberships for as low as $10 per month. The lowest priced membership that Creekside offers is that for students, exclusively, which is $25 per month. The prices of larger fitness chains, such as Planet Fitness, may be deterring people from getting a membership at Creekside.

However, they are doing things to make people more attracted to their facility: there are discounts at certain times of the year, no extra charge for classes, and a more personalized gym experience than that found in a commercial chain.

A second risk that faces Creekside Fitness and Health Center is that of maintenance. Gym equipment is expensive to maintain on its own, not to mention the specialized hardwood studio flooring and pool repairs. All of the instructors have to be paid as well, and, since their pay or position is not dependent on class attendance, this may be the biggest flaw in the maintenance of Creekside operations and its facility.

The largest challenge facing Creekside’s operation is its scheduling of events and incentive programs. Members are only notified of a program about a week in advance, which dramatically decreases their availability for an event, and does not give them enough time to think their participation through. It is my opinion that a lot of potential business is lost in this manner, and that participants need to be provided with an opportunity three weeks to a month in advance. Potential participants also run the risk of missing a registration deadline because they were on vacation or sick the week before the event is supposed to take place. It is my belief that scheduling, maintenance, and lower-cost fitness centers are three challenges that Creekside Fitness in Boardman, Ohio faces. Creekside, with its great atmosphere and pleasant clientele, is keeping up with these challenges, especially as the focus on personal health grows. It is my favorite local business, and I hope to see it sustain as a prominent choice for clients in the area. It has some challenges to face, but it will continue changing and growing to meet those challenges as the need arises.

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