Why Fitness Franchises Are Booming

Back in February 2012, Anna Dey called her dad in Cleveland with what seemed like an impulsive request. “You’re not happy with your career, and you’re still 10 years away from retiring,” she said. “I want you to help me open a gym.” His reply? “Hell, no.” She’d expected as much. Her dad, Von Hollingsworth, had spent 30 years in the electronics-distribution industry. He had a comfortable, stable career, and he wasn’t going to throw it away on a lark. But to Dey this was no lark. Then 24 and just two years out of college, she was a sales manager for Altria, which used to be known as Philip Morris. Basically, she sold cigarettes. But her real passion was fitness. All day, she thought about her workouts. And when she worked out, she envied the manager of her gym, thinking, Gosh, I wish I had that job. She hired a personal trainer, then got certified as a trainer herself.