When Trevor Linden is not busy as the Vancouver Canucks’ president of hockey operations, he focuses on how to expand the network of gyms that he owns with partner Chuck Lawson.
The answer in the past two years has been to open smaller footprint gyms branded Orangetheory Fitness (OTF), which are franchises of a Florida-based company that has more than 200 locations across the U.S.
The duo’s first two OTF locations, in South Surrey and North Vancouver opened in 2014. They opened a third location, in Port Moody, in January and plan to open a fourth location, on Willowbrook Drive in Langley, on August 11.
“We own franchise rights for the Lower Mainland,” Linden told Business in Vancouver. “Our goal is to have 12 to 15 locations open by 2018.”
He expects that a fifth Metro Vancouver OTF will open by the end of the year in downtown Vancouver while a sixth location will open in 2017 also in downtown Vancouver.
“I’ll hold off on being too descriptive about exactly where the site is because we want to have a bit of surprise,” he said.
Linden and Lawson opened their first Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness location in Coquitlam in January 2011 and have since increased that brand to eight locations.
The Club 16 gyms, which include women’s only areas called She’s Fit!, are fully equipped gyms that aim to be distinctive by offering no contracts and low monthly fees. They tend to be an average of about 20,000 to 25,000 square feet, according to Linden.
OTF facilities, in contrast, average about 3,000 square feet.
“We were looking for another niche brand that we could go into,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to find a 3,000-square-foot location than a 25,000-square-foot location with parking and all the rest.”
He took part in an OTF class a few years ago and said he was so “blown away” with how great the product was that he thought that he had to become a franchisee.
OTF differs from standard gyms in that their product is fitness classes.
There are three sections to the OTF facilities: treadmills, rowing machines and a weight floor. A coach directs the classes of 24 people and guides participants, who are all fitted with heart monitors, through different zones, marked with different colours.
One of those five colours is orange, hence the company’s name. Participants are expected to spend between 12 and 20 minutes in the orange zone, which is where there is intense cardiovascular activity that leads to burning calories.
At the end of their workouts, participants get readouts of how many calories they burned, how much time they spent in each of the five phases and other fitness statistics.
“I love the product,” he said. “It’s great for all ages and any fitness level can get started. It’s been really successful.”
Linden told a press conference when he became president of the Canucks’ hockey operations that Lawson would be primarily running the duo’s gym business.
Other business involvements that 46-year-old Linden has had since he completed his 19-year playing career, in 2008, include partnering with Vancouver developer and Airey Development Group principal Howard Airey to build two mixed-use projects. Linden also became a spokesman for Vancouver-based eyewear seller Clearly Contacts.