Tucson's Gold's Gym locations have gone platinum.
The owner of what were Tucson's final three Gold's Gyms, who already owned one Platinum Fitness, has withdrawn his franchise agreement and switched all locations over to American Club Systems-owned Platinum Fitness.
That erases Gold's presence in the Tucson market and gives the city four Platinums.
Messages seeking comment left at the Gold's Gym national office, as well as with Edward Nissan, owner of the Tucson Platinum locations, were not returned.
The four Platinum Fitness locations in Tucson are at 110 S. Church Ave., 5851 E. Speedway, 7315 N. Oracle Road and the original Tucson location, 9550 E. Golf Links Road, which opened in May.
In a phone interview from Columbus, Ga., American Club Systems President Von Hardin said his company drew Nissan's interest by offering lower franchise fees and more flexible membership pricing.
"Gold's would not give (Nissan) the latitude to do the things he wanted to do," Hardin said.
He said Platinum Fitness offers month-to-month memberships as low as $9.95 per month. The basic membership only allows access to fitness equipment, while higher tiers, which cost as much as $30 per month, add in other amenities including access to classes, massages, tanning and locker privileges.
Long-term contracts have been "the theme and backbone" of the industry forever, Hardin said. "But we think that if people are treated right and get what they pay for - maybe a little bit more - we don't have a problem getting people to stay. ... With this model, we're able to attract new people."
Hardin said old contracts will be honored, and no employees were laid off in the changeover. The three newest locations are undergoing renovations that include equipment upgrades, improved educational curriculum in child care and adding medical clinics.
He said the community's response to the change has been positive so far, and Platinum has had "casual talks" with other gyms about dropping their current affiliations to become Platinums.
Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4130.