Since graduating from The University of South Florida, Clayton Flotz, owner of Powerhouse Gym Fort Lauderdale, has spent much of his professional life working in the real estate development and consulting business. Owning and operating a gym was never on his radar. Much of the inspiration for his business came from an accident in 2013.
"I got pretty hurt while riding my bike in Tampa," he said. "Since then, I've been obsessed with fitness and becoming stronger. Before moving back to Fort Lauderdale and seeing first-hand the absence of high quality gyms, I never really thought of owning a gym as an income producing opportunity."
After moving home, Flotz discovered a vacant space that was the perfect location for a gym. After speaking with the owner, he realized he wasn't the only person interested in putting a gym in that space. Fortunately he ended up getting the space and, in July of 2017, Powerhouse Gym Fort Lauderdale was born. It took another year for the gym to open to the public. As Flotz shared, there were many challenges he had to overcome to get the business up and running.
"In the beginning, it was all about the permits, licenses and understanding what all goes into running a fitness club," he said. "It took longer to get the permit than it did to build out the space. We pre-sold for eight months and kept pushing our open date back as time went on. Fortunately, people were excited and we had a lot of people sign up early. I'm also fortunate to have a great partner in Powerhouse Gyms International. They allow us to operate very autonomously. They give us a lot of latitude as long as we preserve the integrity of the brand. They also offer us an abundance of support and consulting, leveraging their over 40 years of experience in delivering over 400 fitness centers worldwide."
Flotz, who truly feels privileged to serve the community and help people with their fitness goals, is committed to delivering a product that's different than most gyms.
"We're on the fourth floor of an old department store," he said. "Our location alone makes us unique. We also define ourselves in terms of our equipment, culture and the atmosphere. We won a best interiors award at a convention in Las Vegas. When doing the build-out, we had a design company create a really cool space. Think 'restoration hardware.' It has that modern and industrial feel. It's a real 'curated' experience. We have luxurious bathrooms, Himalayan salt rooms, a posing area and 100 linear feet of glass overlooking the intracoastal. When the sun is rising, it's truly amazing."
"In terms of the brand we chose to partner with, Powerhouse is the most premier name in fitness. It connotes a sense of seriousness that appeals to those who are serious about fitness. In fact, some locations have a truly transformative quality to them. My first experience at a Powerhouse was in Tampa. At the time, I didn't think I belonged. However, I grew to love it. Our mission is to make the brand more accessible to the mainstream in South Florida."
In addition to bringing the Powerhouse concept to the mainstream, Flotz is focused on adding additional clubs. His second club is opening in Plantation. A third will either be in Miami or West Palm Beach.
What advice does Flotz have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "You can't really score without goals," he said. "If you want to score big points, you have to take a risk. However, nothing happens fast in this world. Be patient and do your due diligence. Do a feasibility study, financial projections and really understand the economics behind the business before you jump in."