“The north of Sweden has 24 hours of daylight during the summer and almost 24 hours of darkness during the winters,” says owner Annie Fältman. “This means that the citizens of Skellefteå are desperate to spend the four months we get of summer and daylight outdoors, and hence is selling annual memberships a great challenge.”
A great challenge, indeed. But Fältman and her team haven’t let a little sunlight stop them.
Chasing Daylight (and Members)
The first 360 Träningscenter (360T) opened in 2009 in Skellefteå, a small urban area with about 40,000 people. Fältman named the club after a 360-degree turn to represent their goal of being “a complete solution for those who choose to train with us.”
“However, we do not claim to be the only solution,” she says. “We believe that all exercise or activity leads to better health, whether it’s with us, walking to and from work, or playing with your children. Our motto, ‘A little bit better all the time,’ is something our members hopefully will notice after a short period of training with us.”
This approach seems to have resonated with local consumers, as 360T was able to open three more clubs in the competitive Swedish market. A number of low-cost chains have been cropping up across the region over the past few years, leaving many private clubs economically challenged, according to Fältman.
“Our strategy has been to keep our product and prices consistent to ensure growth and stability,” she says. “Mainly choosing reinvestments rather than corporate loans has kept our finances stable over the years and allowed the business to grow organically. Offering a premium product to the members has allowed us to keep a high member retention rate and influx of new members.”