, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Holding Things Together When Selling A Location 4289

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Holding Things Together When Selling A Location

News that one of a business's locations is about to be sold can start a costlv exodus of customers and employee. But gymnasium owners and operators Brian and Doris Forchheimer managed to keep all of their members and employees during the many months that they were negotiating to sell one of their two CityFitness gyms in Washington, D.C. Because the owners pride themselves on delivering quality and personal service and wanted to focus their efforts on one location, their first concern was how to take care of the six full-time employees and 550 members at the gym they were selling; many had been at the location since the Forchheimers started the business in 1990.

The Forchheimers had several offers to buy, but they held out for someone they thought would take a personal approach to running the gym. Although no prospective buyers would commit in writing to retaining the employees, the Forchheimers asked them all to talk with the staff before considering replacing anyone. As soon as the couple knew that the gym would sell—about 10 months after the sale process began—they sent a letter to members at both locations explaining the situation. When the sale process dragged on eight months longer, the open communication helped suppress rumors and quell concerns among employees and members. During those eight months, the revenue stream continued. Then, to ensure a smooth transition, the couple stayed on for another month.

"Communication is the key," says Brian Forchheimer. "We didn't want to sell to just anyone, and we were dead set against closing the gym when we had so many people who had been coming so long." The new owner agreed to retain all six employees. The two club managers have an open invitation to come to the Forchheimer.-' remaining club if things don't work out with the new owner. The couple believes that their efforts and  upfront communications also paid off in increased loyalty from the members and employees at their original location.

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