Monday, 30 May 2011

Are Garden Centres the anti-Gym?

Have you noticed the great atmosphere in garden centres?  It would be fantastic to be able to bottle it up and release it into a few gyms and health clubs around the country!

I’ve found myself spending more time than usual in the garden centre lately.  Maybe it’s all the bank holiday weekends this year, maybe it’s because we’ve just moved from metropolis to the leafy suburbs.  There’s often a traffic jam trying to get into the car park, and occasionally some argy-bargy getting a space, but once you walk through the doors, all stresses and frustrations seem to leave you behind, and everyone else is a kindred spirit.

Garden centres are a nice place to spend time, whether you’re focused on buying something specific or just browsing.  Some people are there looking for advice, others just go for an afternoon out and a drink at the café.

So what is it about your garden centre that creates these great vibes, and how can we re-create it in health clubs?  Sure, there’s the proliferation of plants – you could install a shrubbery around your treadmills, and the ponds and fish tanks are nice, as are the fish tanks I’ve seen in a few gyms.

The big differentiator is of course customer service.  Staff working in the garden centre are passionate and knowledgeable, and always happy to offer advice or lend a hand.  They want to pass their knowledge on to the customer so that they too can gain experience and ‘grow’.

Staff working in health clubs are in a more vocational industry, so should be more passionate and knowledgeable.  If they are not, we should hire staff who are more passionate about fitness, and who are dedicated to sharing their energy with more members.

Or perhaps garden centres should start holding yoga classes?  What do you think... feel free to comment below

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