Planet Fitness franchisee Chris Sutherland is preparing to open his fourth Wichita gym.
This one will open by May at 31st and Seneca in a center next to the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.
Sutherland, who is based in Tulsa, and five Wichita partners first announced they were bringing three of the low-cost gyms to Wichita in January 2012.
There’s a reason he says they’re just now opening a fourth site.
“Availability is 100 percent of the reason,” Sutherland says.
He says when opening in a new market, the first gym can be anywhere. The second site can be anywhere as long as it’s a decent distance from the first one.
“So it gets a little harder,” Sutherland says. “We got pretty lucky on our first three.”
Looking for a fourth site becomes “geographically more difficult,” Sutherland says. “That fourth location is a much harder equation to solve.”
Planet Fitness is known for having a $10 monthly rate.
Sutherland says he thinks that before Planet Fitness entered Wichita, there wasn’t a gym in the 20,000-square-foot range that offered competitive prices.
“You guys didn’t have anything like that in the market, so I think we filled a niche,” he says. “It worked out great.”
The newest gym also will be in the 20,000-square-foot range.
Sutherland says there could be more gyms to come.
“I will continue to look at the market.”
That includes surrounding areas, where Sutherland says he’s already started looking. He says it’s back to his original problem, though.
“It just becomes more difficult to find that location that also doesn’t cannibalize that current location.”