HCOA Fitness, the largest chain of gyms in Puerto Rico, is a success story that sheds light on how to grow amidst the political and economic challenges that Puerto Rico has faced recently.
After several years of investment and significant growth in the business, the successful chain announced new plans for future strategic growth and expansion on the island. This will result in the creation of new jobs and advancement opportunities for hundreds of people not only in the fitness industry but in related industries such as construction and design.
With more than 26,000 members, 500 employees and having employed thousands of Puerto Ricans over the years, HCOA has 14 clubs (2 of which were destroyed during Hurricane Maria and will be rebuilt) including unisex, women’s only, and premium clubs.
“We see what is happening in Puerto Rico as a growth opportunity for the chain and a success story for the island, at a time when it is important to send a message to strengthen the investment climate in the region. Puerto Ricans are resilient and passionate about fitness, and nothing stands in their way; they can overcome the most unfavorable challenges. We are glad to be supportive of their economy and their well-being,” said Leigh Randall, Managing Partner at Topspin Partners, HCOA's private equity firm.
HCOA was acquired by Topspin in 2013. “When we acquired it, we found a company with an unfocused business plan, unsatisfied member base and an urgent need for renovation and capital improvement. We have invested millions in HCOA, with the mission of expanding the island’s access to all forms of fitness with the most innovative and comprehensive offer, which we have accomplished ahead of the timeframe in our strategic objectives,” added Randall.
HCOA management believes that Puerto Rico continues to offer valuable investment opportunities for many industries and mentioned that even after the challenges presented by Hurricane Maria, they experienced growth that exceeded expectations in 2018.
Rodrick Miller, CEO of InvestPR, a private, nonprofit organization created under Law 13 of 2017 with the objective of promoting Puerto Rico abroad as a competitive investment jurisdiction, mentioned that, “we are proud to see investors, such as HCOA, that have a deep understanding of the unique opportunities that Puerto Rico offers. Things are working in the economic development ecosystem and we are focused on making things happen to support foreign investors”.
The key to the success of HCOA Fitness is multifaceted, including their first-class facilities, expert fitness knowledge, the personalized service offered to their members, the impressive catalog of services, technology, and membership options, as well as the loyalty and dedication of their staff. At the beginning of this year, HCOA opened its fourteenth location in a 20,000 square feet location, in the old facilities of Sears in Galerías Paseos Mall with an investment of $2.5 million.
Topspin initially focused in Puerto Rico after studying the market and the fitness niche that keeps growing on the island. In the United States and Puerto Rico, the fitness and gym market has been growing at an annual growth rate of about 3-4%, generating 30 billion dollars in revenue in 2018. “We foresee the possibility of more expansion and growth for HCOA in Puerto Rico. It’s proven to be a solid investment and we are confident it will continue to be,” concluded Randall.