The company said it intended to open five local fitness clubs when it entered the market in 2009, but gave no timeline.
The chain has so far opened two large-format fitness facilities - one in Orleans and the other in the Ottawa Train Yards - but has yet to name locations in other areas of the city.
David Wu, a managing partner with the company, declined OBJ’s request for an interview, stating that the company did not have anything substantial to announce or discuss at this time, but said that plans for expansion are in the works.
“Our new clubs for other areas of Ottawa will be much larger than the existing clubs to allow for an expansion of existing services as well as allowing us to add new fitness programs and services,” he said in an e-mail to OBJ.
He hinted that the company may have news in the fall.
Mr. Wu said the company still views Ottawa as a “favourable” economy and has “firm plans” to expand to other parts of the city, but confidentiality agreements prohibit him from discussing those plans.
Company officials previously said they intended to construct gyms in Kanata and two other unidentified areas.
In a 2009 OBJ interview, president Alan Quesnel said there was a strong business case to invest in the National Capital Region.
“The economy (in Ottawa) is much more favourable than other parts of Ontario,” Mr. Quesnel said at the time.
Founded in 1997 and based in London, The Athletic Club has a total of 10 gyms across the province, up from six in 2009. The newest addition is a $14-million facility in Waterloo that opened this February.
The expansion slowdown could be in part because the local market is “reaching saturation,” as Barry Nabatian, the director of the market research division at Shore Tanner & Associates, phrased it in a previous OBJ interview.
New branches of The Athletic Club, GoodLife Fitness, Free Form Fitness and Snap Fitness are capturing the remaining people in Ottawa who are interested in joining clubs.
Approximately 13 per cent of the Canadian population work out in clubs on a regular basis, according to Jane Riddell, GoodLife Fitness’s chief operating officer. The largest fitness company in Canada, GoodLife serves one in every 45 Canadians with more than 300 clubs across Canada, according to the company’s website. The chain has 18 branches across Ottawa with between 50,000 to 60,000 local members, as of last June.
- With files from Elizabeth Howell