Can Curves For Women Get to 10K Again?

outside of a curves franchise
(From Katie@

When I joined my late father’s franchise consulting firm in 2001, Curves For Women was a hot franchise concept. Thousands of franchises were up and running all over the US. By 2005, there were around 8,000 of them. But now?


Being Gary Heavin

Can you imagine what it must have felt like to cash 8,000 franchise royalty checks every month?

Let’s have some fun with math…

Let’s say that in 2005, each franchise location averaged annual sales of $200,000, which breaks down to around $16,000 monthly. Currently, Curves charges a royalty of 5% – of gross revenues. So, based on that, Curves for Women founder, Gary Heavin, would have been receiving a check for $800 every month from 8,000 franchises.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Do you get the math?

Based on my numbers—which are an estimate, each and every month, Heavin was getting checks in the mail totaling $6.4 million. Not bad.

By 2011, Curves only had about 4,000 locations in the US. What happened?

Curves management started selling franchises to the wrong people is what happened.

Franchise industry insiders told me that fairly-bored housewives were convincing their husbands to buy Curves For Women franchises for them, so they could have a shot at small business ownership.

It’s not that a fairly-bored housewife makes a lousy franchisee. It’s that they had no small business management experience, and they allowed themselves to get sucked into what I call, “Franchising’s Black Hole.”

The black hole I’m referring to is the “Business in a Box” ease of ownership mentality.

And, a lot of these women failed.

Can Curves For Women Get to 10K Again?


Check out all the comments below to read what Curves franchisees have to say!


A New Chapter?

North Castle Partners is a leading private equity firm focused on investments in consumer product and service businesses that promote Health, Wellness, and Active Living. North Castle is a hands-on, value-added investor in high-growth, middle market companies in the beauty & personal care, consumer health, fitness, recreation & sports, home & leisure and nutrition sectors, among others.

North Castle Partners  just purchased Curves International Inc.

As a firm focused on businesses that promote Health, Wellness, and Active Living, an investment in Curves was natural for us,” said Chip Baird, North Castle’s Founder and Managing Partner. “We are excited to partner with the company’s founders, Gary and Diane Heavin, to reinvigorate this world renowned company by applying our knowledge and experience in fitness and wellness from our current and prior investments, including International Fitness, Equinox Fitness, EAS and Octane Fitness.”

According to an article in The Franchise Times, the new owners have big plans for this once dominant brand. As in lots of cases in which franchisors are bought out, there will be some pushback by existing franchisees.

The attorney for the Curves franchisee association said news of the sale has caused some uncertainty in the system as to whether this is a good or bad situation, but for the most part, he hasn’t heard a lot of comments about it. Read this from Forbes

I’d love to hear from you? Can Curves For Women regain its place at the top of the fitness franchise food chain?

Better yet, I’d love to hear from current and former Curves franchisees.



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  • ennovy73

    I think you would be surprised at the number of business-educated franchisees in the Curves system. The corporate office would prefer the scapegoat of ill-prepared owners versus the truth of a franchisor with poor leadership and vision. As a current owner of the MBA variety vs. “bored housewife,” I can tell you the system is flawed when the advertising is non-existent and our sole source of growth is supposed to be “buddy referrals.” Every new program over the past 8 years has been designed for the franchisee to “invest” in a product or equipment with the commitment that once a percentage was on board, the program would be advertised. When the advertising didn’t happen, corporate claimed that not a high enough percentage of clubs invested in the new technology/system/insert-money-slush-for-franchisee-here. Of course, the franchisor sold systems that generated as much as $9000 per club in the meantime, never mind that the public never found out how great and cool our $9k upgrade WAS. There is so much more to the tragic Curves story than you will ever know. As of right now, there are actually just over 2900 clubs in the US. So first, who vetted these “business deficient” owners if that were true? And second, could there really have been THAT many bored housewife owners if over 60% of all US clubs have already closed? And just wait….the biggest growth year for Curves was 2003 and 2004 on 10 year agreements. That means a LOT of franchisees will be free to exit the system in the next year to two years. The decline will most definitely continue. I don’t know if NCP can resurrect the dead, but I guess we’ll find out.

    • The Franchise King

      Thanks for that info.

      I appreciate it.

      Most of the “bored housewife” franchisees were the ones who bought Curves early on.


      If they get it together, maybe more MBA types like you will buy them.


      • Curves Fan No More

        LOL … What is this fixation with MBAs? I know an MBA owner who lost his shirt after buying multiple Curves. Lost his entire retirement and had to go back to work in a corporate environment as a high level executive. And his story is not unique. But he cut his losses fast. Most men think like that. They don’t hang around because “poor ol’ Mary Lou won’t have a place to exercise.” (Too many owners in the Curves system think like that.)

        NON-MBA owners is not the reason Curves failed. Curves failed and will continue to fail because women don’t value what they’re selling. Curves allowed itself to be re-branded as a place for old, fat women. Once that happened they never did a thing (marketing/advertising) to change that image. Even if that’s who’s attending Curves, no woman wants to self-identify as an old, fat lady. So even if you resemble that person, you’ll choose a fitness center that doesn’t put you in that box.

        Personally, I think the current owners and highly educated men in charge don’t understand women. I think the men need to step aside and allow women who understand women make the decisions. They can survey and poke and prod all they want – but the fact is – the male MBAs don’t think like women. And until they hire an ad firm filled with women who are not Madison Avenue but Main Street USA they have no hope of ever recapturing the original spirit and fun of Curves.
        They are just about to dip below 2500 Curves in the USA. Still shrinking. They’ll probably end up with around 1900 US locations which will still be a nice business in the portfolio of the new owners. Never mind that 5000 owner/operators with an assortment of experience failed (from MBA to lowly house wife). The problem is apparently that not enough MBAs gave it a try. (Consider that people with an MBA, with all their smarts, look at the current model and decide they can make a LOT more money doing something else.)

        Curves used (and still uses) franchisees as piggy-banks for the corporation. The Corporation succeeds even if the individual locations don’t because they get their royalties no matter what. The company has 2500 US members (locations) … and the clubs only average 150 members. If owning a Curves was so lucrative the company would make them all company stores.

        • The Franchise King

          WOW. You don’t sound like a happy franchisee.


          • Clive

            The main problem with CII and NCP is that they still don’t have the right caliber of professional middle management. Too many things are still done to a poor standard, without innovation or expertise. The website for instance – there’s a lot of old rubbish there and the new stuff isn’t much better. Press releases for promotions are awful. Agree that CII and NCP are still diming us to death. NCP needs to face the obvious – they won’t be able to get extra money out of the franchisees until they help us achieve a sustainable increase in revenue. Then think, share not take it all.
            Why does no one ask how much of the advertising levy is actually spent on advertising – surely CII/NCP shouldn’t be allowed to make a profit on this too? CII/NCP holding back on our advertising budget always puzzled me – what incredible negative short term thinking. Holding back on advertising while clubs are struggling – where’s the logic in that?
            Agree that there has been an adversarial attitude towards Franchisees instead of working with us to get feedback on the level of success of promotions and programs. So many good ideas are missed this way. This is improving, one can talk to Curves now and they’re starting to listen.
            To be positive, I truly believe in the Curves workout, making women stronger, a great place to be and an essential service to combat obesity and poor health.
            What we need from NCP is inspiration and expertise – good commercially effective management. Some of their initiatives look very good – like getting some scientific heavies in to show how the workout actually improves health and condition. The combination of the diet and the workout could be a winner, if handled properly and expertly.
            NCP needs to move quickly.

  • Gary Staples

    Hi Joel,
    Good read.My Wife and I have owned a Curves since they came to Canada(one of the first north of the border)When we started the interview process was in person with Gary and Gary Findlay(CEO)in a local Denny’s.Many people met with them and we got a call later to say we were what they were looking for to run a Curves(we never asked what we could expect to make)
    Times were good and Curves management were understanding and so personable(you just wanted to do good)
    Then I heard of area sales persons(due to the increased interest)these people were payed by signing a franchise and boy,did they sell(too big,too fast)I don’t know the financial agreements that were made to these Area sales people but heard it was quite lucrative.So sell your brains out and make that money but nobody(Curves international) was really watching if the demographics could support a club or two or three.I saw where some of the clubs landed around here and really there is no way I would have put a club in some of these towns.I was told by a Area sales person,that one of the towns we are in now could support six clubs?We have two in there now and am I glad my gut said”NO WAY”
    We own four clubs now and we are excited to see what North Castle is going to do and see some new ideas.

    • The Franchise King

      Thanks for that update.

      Your’re right: Sometime franchisors get a little too aggressive with the salespeople they hire.

      I’m glad that your 4 Curves franchises are doing well in spite of things!


  • Former Curves Fan

    I think you’re description of ‘bored housewives’ is sexist and demeaning to women. First, it insinuates that women who choose to be at home with their families are un-educated nitwits who never accomplished anything prior to marriage/family. Second, that the job (yes – it’s a job to manage family finances, personalities, and schedules) of ‘housewife’ takes no skill. Odd that no position or life station that a man holds is ever described in the same manner. Would you ever say, “The franchises were sold to bored mid-level male executives who were unfulfilled by their corporate drone job.” Only women are ‘bored’ or ‘incapable’.

    I know men who abandoned their Curves who had substantial resumes. Guess the guys just couldn’t handle the pretty franchise do-it-yourself box that Curves handed them. Pity the fools. Some lost everything. Others got out before they did.

    One thing that did happen: Curves took advantage of the caring natures of women who kept their Curves running even when they shouldn’t have. If you want to make a gender distinction regarding Curves operation and failure, consider that men are more likely to shut it down when it begins to lose money whereas women use their emotion and continue to care for their members even at great risk to themselves. If anything, had Curves not sold to so many women, the entire system would have crashed 5 years ago.

    • The Franchise King

      Thanks for stopping by.

      You make some good points.


      Women in business that know me, will say the opposite. They’ll tell you that I am pro-women business owners…heck, I’m pro-equal rights and equal pay for women.

      Big time.

      In fairness, I should have chosen better wording.

      I apologize if i offended you.


      • Former Curves Fan

        Apology accepted. Words mean things afterall. The insinuation of ‘bored housewife’ is that Curves collapsed due to the dumb-girl owners — which couldn’t be further from the truth. As I said, if anything, dedicated women kept a dying brand alive by working for free for years – and many of them still do. Odd as it seems, most are working for little to no profit.

        • The Franchise King


          Personally, I think Curves-like a lot of franchisors, needs to really define who their perfect franchisee looks like.

          All would benefit.


  • Cat

    I owned a Curves for 5 years. My club was profitable for 4-1/2 years until a Snap Fitness opened offering my members 24 hour access and the opportunity to work out with their significant others. If CII had kept up with newer trends and not nickeled and dimed their franchisees to death, the franchise would still be a viable one IMO. The concept is still good but the general mismanagement of CII caused a lot of bankrupcy and grief.

    • The Franchise King

      Thanks for that info.

      Today’s franchisors MUST keep up with business trends.


      • Ravie

        I am a former owner. And yes, I had business experience, and plenty of skill and knowledge to bring to a business. I concur that the biggest problem was keeping the business model totally stagnant as the culture moved on. The official hours are set to serve ONLY housewives, retired people, and women not working day jobs. But the world has shifted and more and more women are working full time. They have less time, and not during Curves hours. Extended hours with personal code door locks are the norm now. Gary Heavin forbade any extended hours, and from what I heard and saw his reason was he really didn’t think mere women were smart enough to figure out if it was safe or not to enter a place after dinner in the evening, or after the kids had been tucked in. So the franchise missed that chance to move into the current century. We asked for treadmills and the like for the clubs in climates where walking outside was difficult much of the year. GH stuck stubbornly to his original model with not modernization at all, no matter how many great ideas and feedback he got from franchisees. I believe Curves could be thriving right now with a few changes like these. NCP has NOT moved forward on any of these things that could bring Curves back to life. They’ve forced it back into the old, and no longer so relevant, original model instead of moving into the present, let alone the future. I fear there is no future if they don’t step up and get with what women want NOW. Before I closed my club I had installed keyless entry, setting it from 4am to 11pm. At least 75% of my new signups after I installed it cited extended hours as one of the biggest reasons they signed up. I had doubled my membership in my first 2 years, and watched it dwindle back to where it started, until keyless, when it was starting to inch back up… not fast enough for me to re-sign my franchise agreement when it came time. Plus they would have forced me to remove it or fined me big bucks for doing the best thing I ever had for my business.

        Women come in a very broad spectrum of needs and wants. It’s not just old ladies and housewives who loved having a women only workout place. It broke my heart to see it left to fail like this. And NCP has done nothing to bring it into today since they bought the company. More pushed it toward the past, failed model.

        • The Franchise King

          Wow, Ravie.

          Sounds like a backwards franchisor. In so many ways.

          Thanks for this important information.


  • Rich D.

    Your opinion that in 2011 franchises were down to 4,00 because they were sold to the wrong people is a grossly misleading statement. In the beginning THEY (Howie Heavin) was selling to ANYONE, including those who didn’t know the difference between a balance sheet and a balance beam if they had “cash”. Yet, they succeeded because it was new. Now the shine is off the penny, most owners are broke, broken and would lock the door and walk away if they could. Owners, with and without business skills are losing EVERYTHING! The stormtrooper bullying corporate attitude towards THIER customers (the individual owners) with both the current and former corporate owners presents an ever increasing negative feeling. This franchise is a fraud and will be non-existent of unrecognizable in 5 years or less. Just look at the previous comments. They represent what I would estimate is 70-90% of all owners are FAILING and just counting the days (literally) till they can be free from the Curves mess.

    • The Franchise King

      Hi Rich,

      Thanks for chiming in.

      But, how is my statement misleading.

      Don’t the “wrong” people include ones who didn’t qualify in the 1st place?


      • Curves Fan No More

        I think your premise is misleading because the theme continues to be that if Curves had only sold to ‘smart’ people the brand wouldn’t have fallen so far (and so fast). The business model is flawed and their relationship to the franchisees is lopsided (as in everything they do offers protections and profits for the company at the expense of the franchisee).

        Prove that the owners weren’t experienced or smart enough to run a Curves. You can’t. If you only knew the experience and education of the majority of owners you wouldn’t presume to think the problem was inexperienced owners, especially ‘housewives’. (The assumption being: housewife = uneducated, frivolous.) Many Curves were owned by women, some were housewives, some were bankers, some were nurses, etc. Running a Curves is not hard. Managing income/expenses is not hard. Building and maintaining a membership at a gym is hard when you only offer one service and the same workout for 20 years. Once it was tagged as ‘old lady’ central it became more difficult to overcome that reputation and it became a self-fulfilling reputation.

        The company wants to blame former owners because it lets them off the hook for their many, many, failures to save their own brand.

        The new owners of Curves International have a long, hard, hill to climb. The brand is weak and the business model is not foolproof (or I should say MBA proof.)

        • The Franchise King

          Thanks for the info.

          And, some of the “Owners” were 6-figure job husbands who bought those $50k Curves franchises for their inexperienced spouses.

          Did Curves management hurt the business model?

          I have no idea.

          Again, thanks for popping by.


          • Curves Fan No More

            Of all the owners I’ve known, I can honestly say I don’t know a single one with a wealthy husband who bought her the business. Not a single one. Owners were dedicated, hard working, middle class, and committed. They were/are educated. Almost every one that I knew had business experience prior to purchasing their Curves. They also had resumes which would rival the original owners of Curves.

  • Anna

    As a former franchisee, I can tell you a big part of the problem was the ever diminishing territory size. When I bought in 2004, I think you had to have 30,000 total population to constitute a territory. By 2007 or so. Curves was selling territories with as few as 5,000 total population. I went from having 1 or 2 other Curves in the area, to having 5 or 6. Then they tacked on supposedly lucrative revenue streams to make up for the fact that membership numbers declined, as members joined new clubs closer to home. I was told to sell tee shirts, workout gear, even travel! Plus, there was NO quality control. “Area” directors sat in Waco. I had my first visit from an area director in 2007. And, as one of the guys selling franchises said to me when I asked him what info Curves would want on me before I bought, he said the only thing they cared about was whether or not I had the money. And when I did my training in Waco, the guy next to me (another new franchisee) was a fat guy from Texas whose background was as a chicken farmer. The then head of legal was a storm trooper who viewed franchisees as the enemy.

    • The Franchise King

      Darn chicken farmers.


      Territories should not be messed with; it’s not fair to existing franchisees.

      Thanks for sharing…


  • CJ

    I have a question. Why has the downfall of the Curves Franchise NOT been investigated and reported on by the media? Curves clubs are still closing at an alarming rate. I would think this would be a story many would be interested in.

    • The Franchise King

      Hi CJ,

      Not sure.

      But, since a lot of us are creating our own “media,” ….


  • Indiana franchisee

    We currently own a Curves franchise in a medium sized Midwestern city. It has been in business for ten years of which we have run it the last two. The New Castle deal has been a positive for the franchise. It has brought freshness and new direction to the business. It has also been heavy handed with franchisees who are passive owners.

    Pro: The weight loss program (Curves Complete) and the circuit-style workout genuinely work for permanent weight loss and fitness. Having a fitness coach present in “the circuit” assures that each member gets the attention they require to be successful. I believe the Curves system works, and that the all women environment is beneficial for those that have a hard time committing to a fitness membership. I do not believe this can be accomplished as an un-staffed 24 hr. facility.

    Con: There seems to be a high-volume/ low price war going in fitness now like pizza places that offer low quality large pizzas ready to carry out for $5. This has made attracting younger members especially difficult. Curves international seems to unveil a new service that is ‘optional’ (read- mandatory) for franchisees every couple months. These services always are accompanied by recurring fees. Curves International has saddled us with so many recurring monthly fees for this and that, that we have been hamstrung financially and have started looking for the exit.

    Bare truth: We have struggled to make our franchise profitable. This has been through no fault of the business model or area. Even minimal effort put forth in marketing has produced results. Our location could very well be profitable for someone wholly committed to it. Our personal experience has shown that we underestimated the time commitment needed to be successful. The success and management of our location has suffered because we avoided putting our “full time” careers in jeopardy. We did not go through ‘due diligence’ before jumping in head first.

    • Jackie

      I’d recommend that you continue to work on your ‘due diligence’ … it is North Castle not New Castle. These folks are planning to flip this baby as soon as it’s packaged just right, which at present looks as if that may never materialize, or, they may finally throw in the towel and have a fire sale.

  • Jackie

    Joel, Since NCP bought Curves just over a year ago (Aug. 2012), over 697 clubs have closed in the U.S., or 23.33% of the system in one year! As of September 13, 2013, there are 2,291 U.S. clubs listed as open on Since 2007, nearly 6,000 U.S. locations have closed. This represents the largest wealth destruction in the history of franchising when you consider all of the factors.

    It is only a matter of time before the ramifications of this story, as well as Howie Heavin, are investigated in depth, and reported on by the various media, in a widespread manner.

    • The Franchise King

      Thanks for the updated info, Jackie.


  • CindyP

    Darla, I do not own a franchise, but could have taken one over that closed last week. I am so glad I did not. As a Curves member, I was not happy with the changes that were mandated for 2013. The beautiful, uplifting colors were replaced with an awful, boring beige! The motivational sayings on the wall were replaced with Curves Complete commercials. I don’t know anyone who was interested in Curves Complete. You can get meal plans off the internet for free, and I don’t want anyone “coaching” (bullying) me to work harder. I work out at a couple different Curves since I look after my parents in a different town. Now they are pushing meal and snack bars that are full of carbs. Who wants that? My favorite Curves closed. I feel so sorry for the franchise owners. Looks like they have been pushed around by these new owners worse than before. Now my alternate Curves is closed, and a neighboring town closed theirs too. I heard that the wonderful equipment (the awesome thing about Curves) has to be scraped. That is just sinful! Curves is a fun and easy way for older women to keep flexible and socialize. I’ve heard comments that this is a negative. Why? We have money, and we are legion…babyboomers, you know. Love going to Curves, but the new management makes me nervous about Curves’ future.

  • DJ

    I’m a Curves owner (for now), since NCP bought Curves International in August 2012 I would describe the relationship with their franchisee as adversarial. Instead of encouraging their franchisees and helping to make their business successful, they constantly threaten us if we don’t participate in every new scheme. At the October 2012 conference many promises were made and few if any have been kept, example New CEO Monty said new product was coming, we would not have to stock inventory, members could buy over the internet and local clubs would get 25%. Well apparently Monti either is a liar or has a short memory. Curves new meal and snack bars have to be stocked at the local club and the the margin is far less than 25%, plus in order to sell these items you MUST purchase the low quality display at $50 further reducing your margin.Monty also”promised” that with renewed and targeted marketing corporate would generate 100 new members per club over the next year, 11 months later and my grand total of corporate generated new members… 0, thanks Monty! I could go on and on with the failed promises, it’s apparent to me that NCP didn’t have a clue what they were getting into, they have had many successes in the past, but this may be their biggest and most obvious failure, I don’t believe the Curves brand can survive much longer. Royalties are 5%, but there is also and advertising fee of 3%, so call it what you want the fees are 8%, and I haven’t seen significant advertising in my location for more that 4 years. If you can’t tell I am not happy.

  • DJ

    WOW reading your estimate of club revenues ($16,000) per month, really shocked me, this means that with an average membership of $39 each club would have 300-400 members not accounting for additional revenue such as Tee-Shirt and Supplement sales. I believe (as I have talked to many club owners) that a more reasonable estimate of membership per club is around 200. We are hovering at about 140, and cannot turn a profit at this level. The franchise fees do not allow for any kind of market adjustment.. ie. a club in nowhere, Nebraska may pay rent of .30cents per square ft while a club in southern California may not be able to find a location for less than $2 per sq ft. (Sorry Nebraska, just an example), Guess Curves only wants franchises in small rural communities.

  • MakingItWork

    This is an old thread but I wanted to add my comments for Curves owners or those considering purchasing one. I have been an owner for one year – anniversary 9/2013. It has been an extremely dififcult year due to the many changes the brand has gone through since I took the club over and unexpected expenses. NCP has made some promises they did not keep but I would say that the majority of the changes made were necessary to update the brand and bring consistency to it. Our Curves looks 100% better with the new paint scheme, current posters, and lack of clutter. Our membership has grown to over 300. We started off with 240. We sold quite a few of the Curves Complete (new weight loss programs) in the first quarter of 2013. Unfortunately, due to the added costs in payroll and fees from the franchise, Curves Complete is not a profitable program. I purchased Curves because I have been a member for years and did not want it to close. We are not losing money and we have a our club fully staffed since my partner and I both have full time jobs. We both spend a substantial time on management, paperwork, payroll, marketing, etc. but for now, we don’t pay ourselves. The largest demographic at this time are baby boomers. This is the perfect environment for them. We have several members who have lost up to 35 lbs this year on Curves Complete. I think it can be profitable again but we need the franchise to do something big, such as get a celebrity spokesperson. Considering the fact that my staff had been there forever and were not motivated and did no external marketing on their own, we actually did pretty well to hold our own. I think with the right staff, strong local marketing, we might actually turn this club around.

    • The Franchise King

      Thanks a lot for that update.

      Great to know info like this.

      Best of luck…I hope you can make some money and open Club #2 soon.


      • mojasowa

        you’re an idiot. you’re reading about how hopeless Curves is on a very large scale and wishing someone to open Club #2? What do you get out of it? I don’t even own a franchise. I am doing research for a cousin who wants to open a different fitness franchise. Your misogyny is so transparent and shameful. Your comments about bored housewives are tacky to say the least. Many women who opened a Curves did it on their own without “their husband’s money”, or with their allegedly smarter husbands’ participation, and many had valid business experience. Men get screwed over too you know. And if you haven’t noticed, nowadays it is standard that men and women both work and contribute income to the household. You’re an old geezer and I wouldn’t trust your insight onto anything with that old geezer outdated mentality.

        • The Franchise King

          No name calling.

          Plenty of women opened Curves early on without their husbands money. You know that, how?

          I’m glad you’re doing research. make sure you talk to at least 15 Curves franchisees. Random ones. See how happy they are with headquarters. Find out if they’re making money these days.

          The Franchise King®

          • mojasowa

            “Plenty of women opened Curves early on without their husbands money. You know that, how?”

            given that there were THOUSANDS of locations and many or most were owned by women, isn’t it a given that there were single women with savings that opened up a Curves? If you assume otherwise, it’s a really sexist attitude. The one person I know who had a Curves location was a divorced woman who had always been the breadwinner even when she was married, and used her own money to open a Curves. Reading the testimonials of women here, I believe them that they did everything that was recommended and failed because it wasn’t a sustainable model. What ties do you have to Curves to protect them? Can you please disclose? If not, “someone” will do the research and publish that for you.

          • The Franchise King


            I don’t have any ties to Curves.

            As a matter of fact, if you some some time here-and look at some of my other articles mentioning specific franchisors, you’ll see that I have no problem calling out franchisors that aren’t doing a good enough for their franchisors.

            I’m not exactly a “Fan” of Curves. Trust me on that!

            The Franchise King®

    • Nonamehere

      I agree with you MIW… at the very least they need change the ho-hum boring ads. I am also newer owner, took on a club just at beginning of 2012. Unfortunately, I trusted the former owner and believed that person when I was told they had over 200 members (they cooked the books they showed me). That was not at all the case but I have struggled and managed to bring it up to a healthier number…that is until the rollercoaster of NCP started damaging the brand. They go head full of steam into one new project after another and in doing so, they have admittedly had a huge drop in fitness memberships and they have sucked the fun out of the circuit. All the mandates and strong arming have me counting the days until the end of my agreement. I’m glad you and your partner (I’m in this alone) are doing well, I still have not taken a dime from the operating account for myself. I would be thrilled if they wanted to take over my franchise and have already notified CI that I’m for sale.
      As for you Mr. Franchise King…shame on your for the misogynistic attitude. You insult a very fine group of people with your bored housewife comment!

      • The Franchise King

        Please accept my apology.

        And, thanks for your comment.


    • OnTheStruggleBus

      MakingItWork – We opted in at the same time. I too had a 1 year anniversary 09/2013. We are in a VERY small town – one that shouldn’t even be a territory based on population in my humble estimation. Our numbers have nearly doubled since my purchase – still 3/4 where I need to be to realize any coverage of overhead. I will pat my back and attribute this growth to my energy. I have single handedly completely changed the service provided at this location but was forced to walk away from a very lucrative full-time contract 3 months into my ownership to do so. I am doing mirror checks hourly. I am not getting paid and I am putting in horrendous hours. I have 30 years experience running very large businesses (2-4m sales annually) with a fraction of the time it takes for me to run this very small franchise ($25k UGH). I am a smart gal – I swear!! The tools that I am required to have in place – at a monthly fee – waste so much of my day it’s exhausting. While I am a fan of the Curves Clean mandate issued last fall and the transition into Curves Complete this year, I feel that people who have no idea how to run an efficient business have designed the program/process we are forced to use. It’s downright embarrassing closing a sale trying to appear that this franchise has its stuff in order with the amount of time it takes to process something as simple as a membership sale. Forget about inventory! This is not a business plan. It’s a system for a big guy to extract fees. I will put in the next 4 years but have already warned my AD (newly titled BDM) that I will not be renewing my agreement under the current conditions. Current conditions are a shame – It really could be great.

      • Nonamehere

        Same boat here StruggleBus! I’m hoping but not optimistic that the new changes they are touting for the November Regionals include a partnership with a big company…such as Weight Watchers…rather than try and go head to head with nothing more than marketing tool kits (putting the onus of improving the brand on the franchisees…the very people that are paying corporate for the brand!!!) If they really want to compete with the likes of WW then it doesn’t take a marketing genius to know that they need to ramp up the national advertising at the very least!

  • TC

    Hi JL, I have a different take on the Curves saga. I have owned 3 clubs for about 8 years, closed 1 two years ago and now have the remaining 2. I think three major mistakes were made: allowing too many franchises to open (greed on corporates part), not qualifying the buyers in any way, and not making it a dynamo workout from the onset. And I think #3 is the most important point. In the early years, Curves was like kindergarten…we played games, had book clubs, played trivia, had birthday boards, decorated lavishly for every season, family photos everywhere, all for the sense of ‘community’. Our ‘customer service’ also included a hefty dose of conversation and, of course, lots of gossip. What got lost in it was what Curves was supposed to be – a small womens gym where you got a really great workout. We became ‘an old womans gym where you can stay flexible’. Of course, there were exceptions and success stories, but the reputation of Curves became less than stellar. Couple that with many owners and staff who were heavier and more unhealthy than the women they were supposed to be coaching. Seriously, would YOU join a gym where your trainer was bigger than you are??? And that was very common. But then Curves was a friendly place and you did get to hang with women friends and meet new ones and maybe move around on the machines a little. But it hurt us. And many people quit. And owners were unhappy. And members didn’t get any results. And they told their friends. And Curves were competing with each other. And badmouthing each other in front of their members. And on it went.
    And along came NCP and they have a STEEP mountain to climb. Current owners are unhappy, mistrustful of their motives, maybe just tired of it all. But to me, they seem to be doing good things, with lots of newness coming. Surely everyone agrees that the new clean look is good. They are also now focusing on good workouts and good coaching, giving us marketing materials and posters that we previously had to buy, making changes to the website, hiring more staff. I don’t understand what owners want them to do???? For them to be successful, we need to be successful. THEY ARE TRYING TO HELP US BE SUCCESSFUL….and for all the MBAs out there, corporate has to make money also. I think all franchised operations have to pay royalties and fees do they not? I just wish people would give NCP a chance to try to turn this around. Obviously it can’t happen overnight – I think two years is the timeframe, and Its only been one. I just wish they had gotten started about 5 years ago!!!

    • Brenda

      I think two years is too long of a time frame for a brand that is so tarnished. (Unless the goal is stabilize the corporation and resell to another company.) The workout is exactly the same. Adding a diet doesn’t improve the attractiveness of what Curves is selling – because consumers have long memories. It’s like buying a Pet Rock or a Beanie Baby 10 years later. Who’s going to do that? Curves was tagged as a FAD workout early on. Curves was further damaged by the founders with their insistence on inserting their political and religious opinions where they didn’t belong (on the stage at Club Camps and Conventions). Curves was damaged by a media that was only too happy to attack over the abortion issue (the boycott years). Then damaged even further when the 8,000 USA clubs started collapsing like dominoes. I know former owners & employees who don’t re-join a Curves after closing their clubs. Apparently they don’t even believe in the brand.
      It is my opinion that NCP will not revive the brand in any significant way (as in making Curves a consistently profitable franchise to own.) The fact is, for the amount of time, energy, and resources owners put in to their businesses, they deserve to be earning a minimum of $30,000 a year per club. Of the remaining <2300 US clubs (as listed on, how many would you guess are paying the owner even $20,000 a year? How many would you guess are just breaking even? How many would you guess are losing money every month? I think the answers to those questions would surprise people.
      The Franchise Agreement holds owners hostage even when their clubs are losing money every month. They signed the Franchise Agreement so they just need to suffer the consequences. After all, business is business. But a company that is supposedly all about empowering women has financially and emotionally hurt many, many women over the past 10 years.

      • nonamehere

        Amen to that Brenda!

    • The Franchise King

      I hope NCP knows what their doing. You seem to be in the minority of franchisees who feel that they do.


    • Dolly

      I agree strongly. In my opinion the owners themselves can be an embarrassment to us. We must remember that WE are our principle advertisement. If you don’t hear from members and guests that “wow, you workout here?”, then perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your personal profile and get back to basics. Corporate can’t do everything!

      • The Franchise King

        That’s one way to look at things.

        Do you feel corporate is getting it’s act together?


  • Mary M

    I own a Curves, I bought it because I had lost 65 lbs, still off 6 years later. changed my life and loved it. I’m passionate about it. The # 1 problem is lack of support. When opening, you had to be an owner to go to Club Camp and you had to have a bunch of appointments in the book for them to bother to send you a “specialist” to help you open. If I had a bunch of appointments in the book I would not have needed a specialist. I had know idea what I was doing, just that I believed in it and know it works. That and they let rulebreakers prosper yet threaten us all with legal action when we are doing it right. Good luck NCP, I am ever hopefull!

  • Gail@Curves

    My Curves is 13 years old and I still love IT! There is always “some” truth in both negative and positive viewpoints. My only real concern is that NCP wants us to be professional, yet they still expect us to go door-to-door and mailbox-to-mailbox hawking our wares with flyers and one-week free promises. Wonder if a celebrity spokeswoman could get us off the street. Hasn’t been done with Curves. Would like NCP to try. BTW, just yesterday one of members told me it’s me that makes my club, and yet I have an MBA.

    • ray

      Hi Gail Do you still feel good about curves? Is it worth considering purchasing a location?

      • Dolly

        I’ve owned my club for over a decade. I’ve always pulled a profit and still love the concept. My exception was I sought certifications in many areas i.e. personal trainer, group fitness, senior fitness. I am qualified to teach fitness, diet and nutrition…we are results driven and not a “retail store” for clothing etc. If we invest in our members and they get results, they will stay, invite others and enjoy their memberships. That way everyone is happy.

        • Mary


          What kind of market are you in? It is nice to see some positive feed back against all these negative reviews.


  • claymask

    I am a current Curves owner of 1 year. I purchased mine from a corporate owner’s husband. The membership was pumped up with people who had quit almost a year ago and placed on the credit card payment so that it did not show that they were not making payments. Since taking over right about the same time that NCP made their purchase our membership has continued to decline. The advertisement made on channels that no one watches during prime time when everyone is watching other channels is solely for Curves Complete. Women who come in and get on Curves Complete do not stay after the finish their contract and that is if they do finish their contract. Several have told me that once their contract is over they will go to another gym that offers 24 hours, more dance classes, yoga, childcare and pools. Since they have a lifetime access to the diet they no longer feel the need to pay for the gym here. Some just use the diet and walk, they are getting it for free now. NCP has not honored any of their promises to include when following the outlined track they have for when a club re-opens under a new owner. We are struggling to keep the doors open right now and face closing the doors. CII has threatened us with legal action if we close our doors before we finish these last 4 years. Reality is we are barely making rent and the first time we have to pay the rent out of our family money that keeps a roof over my children’s head we will close the doors. I figure we will be on the list of other owners they are trying to get blood from the turnip too!

    • DJ

      The comedy of NCP continues… I will close my club in 2 months (end of my franchise agreement). The closing packet still says that the equipment must be returned to CI, sold to another franchise or destroyed… absolute BS, the equipment is not proprietary and was PURCHASED by the franchisee, so if you’re in a similar situation.. you do whatever you want with your equipment.

      • amy

        Are they holding your wellness?

    • DJ

      claymask.. that last post wasn’t specific to you but any Curves owners that might be considering closing. I am truly disappointed in CI and NCP, franchisors are supposed to support and encourage their franchisees not threaten them, I think they have forgotten that WE are the revenue providers, without us they are nothing! When a franchisor says we are spending “our” money on advertising and such they have totally lost touch. Whose money? Where did that money come from? Does the franchisee have any say in how the royalties or ad fees are spent? They don’t want our input, they just wants endless fees, royalties, ad fees, software fees (worst software on earth, I know Jr. High kids that could develop better software). OK enough ranting… I’m a short timer!

    • The Franchise King

      I’m starting to detect a pattern. It seems like no current or former Curves franchisees like what NCP has done.


  • amy

    My contract is up this month and I just received news that ci will be holding my wellness from September on….can they do that??? It is no longer great to be at curves!!!

    • DJ

      Wow, they better not try it, that would be insurance fraud, they did not
      provide the services, they cannot bill / be paid for the services. If I
      were you I would send a firmly stated email / letter and contact your state
      insurance commissioner.

      • MovingOn

        Dear Amy – I owned 3 Curves for 10 years started in 2003. I have an MBA in Finance and ran beautiful clubs with great numbers. In 2008 I sold one club because I found 3 were hard to run on my own (the new owner filed bankruptcy and I had to sue to get my money – still waiting). In 2010 I lost my second Curves and could not reopen due to the city permitting requirements. So I focused on one franchise, after NCP bought out Curves I new that they would be requiring capital investments back into our clubs that I could foresee would not pay us back. I closed my franchise in July. They held my wellness payments for May, June and July. I had a good closure and complied with all of their requests. I.E. I jumped through every hoop to ensure I would receive my wellness payment. I waited until the end of October and contacted CI, they said that the insurance company was claiming “fraud” on my account. I had been in good standing for the last 7 years we have had the wellness program with no problems. Needless to say they have held my $3,900. I have moved on working with a wellness company email me at I am using my old Curves list to make lifelong, reliable income :-)

        • The Franchise King

          Great to hear that you have a list to work, at least.


  • Seriously frustrated

    I have been running a Curves for 4 Years, unfortunately my contract didn’t start until the 2 nd year I was in there. When NCP took over I was really hoping for positive change. It feels like it is just more financial burdence than anything. I am not looking forward to the new requirements at the beginning of this year. I honestly would like to shut the doors and not endure any more financial stress. My question is if anyone here knows how strict corporate is when you close before your contract is up and how much money they will try to come after me for. The club doesn’t even break even at this point and I don’t want to fall farther into debt with the new requirements coming in jan.

  • Mary W

    Totally ridiculous what Curves is asking of their franchise owners. They so badly want younger members that they don’t seem to care about seniors. Seniors love the machines as it helps with flexibility as they age. To insist we push them until they glisten with sweat is not going to happen. They love their Curves and we encourage and support them to work their hardest and help them do so. But let’s not discourage them from making friends or sharing their stories. That is just as important for their well being

  • Thomas Henry

    I am a landlord. have a franchisee as a tenant. She wanted out and was willing to just walk away and give it away to someone else. I advertised it for months as a free club giveaway and was willing to pay $2500 of the franchise fee. NO ONE wanted it!! I even called curves and told them the problem I was having and if they could help by lowering the transfer fee….they told me know that they don’t do that then called up the tenant complaining that I called them….in essence they would rather close a club then lose $2500 of their $7500 transfer fee…this has to be the WORST managed company ever!! I had to evist the tenant a week later. Went 7 months without rent trying to help her…..STAY AWAY FROM CURVES you will lose money!! even the existing owners in the Atlanta market had no interest in FREE club as none were making any money with the one they had…….Terrible franchise

  • Former Curves Owner

    I owned a Curves for just over 3 years. I made money because a nearby territory closed and I gained all of their membership. I have a business background, and worked like crazy to keep it profitable. Curves definitely works, but it can become old and monotonous after a while. The same workout, the same music, going around the same circuit over and over for years gets tiring and people need a change. Curves made a last ditch effort to add Zumba, but the classes were few and far between and I think it was too little, too late. I always found there to be a tension between myself and CI. Much of our conversations seemed to be “canned” scripts, with little effort to get personal with the owners. Any concerns about the direction of the club, or the franchise in general were always swept under the rug. I was given examples of successful clubs, but never actually met an owner with one. I met many owners. As year 3 was coming to a close I knew that any profits I was making were soon going away. membership had been steadily dropping. I contacted Curves to see what my options were. I was told that as long as I followed there very strict guidelines with closure they would “significantly” drop the fee assessed from breaking my contract. I tried to sell for about 6 months, I actually received a deposit from one woman, but when I deposited her check, she had put a stop payment on it, and never returned my calls. I guess she did some research. Just one month prior to my closure I got a call from the corporate office saying that Curves had been sold to a new company and they intended to come after me for every penny. This is after I jumped through hoops to comply with their guidelines. I was stunned. I had come to the realization that I would close and live the rest of my life dodging creditors from CI. My fees would total over $60,000. I had about $5000 in my bank account. My luck turned around when a member approached me about taking the club over. I was honest with her about everything, and she wanted to give it a go. I literally gave it to her. Curves refused to waive the transfer fee. I called their bluff and they waived it in the 11th hour. She has owned it now for about one year and has said that she has yet to make any money. She also shared that she is required to buy $16,000 worth of new equipment by January. I really hope she succeeds!!!! I’m doubtful though. Not because I think that she is inept, but I think that the Curves corporate offices have the odds stacked against the franchise owners. They squeeze every dime out of the owners, with no care in the world about the owners livelihood, all while making a killing for themselves. It is hard as an owner to keep up momentum. Most owners work 60 hours a week and get paid nothing. I don”t care how great you are with business, few people can keep their spirits up with this business model. It was a trend, and it ended. BTW, I did contact the local media to tell my story, and they did not seem interested.

  • curiousgeorge

    why did curves hire a lesbian spokesperson?!

  • Ana..down and out in Tx

    Hi, I just closed my club in Dec. 2013. All I can say is that I have had 20 yrs of business experience and I could not make this Curves a profitable one. I tried everything. I even went out on the streets holding signs, this was at the suggestion of our area director when I told her of what a difficult time I was having, I did it anyway. Did all they said, the door to door, the flyers, the boxes. I put all my savings into this and finally enough was enough. This is the worst experience I have ever had. And I’m sure it’s not over…. CI will come after me for money they will want for royalties…etc for the time left on my agreement.

    • The Franchise King

      So sorry to hear that you had to close down your Curves franchise, Ana.

      Sounds like you did everything you could to stay IN business.


  • sadowner

    My husband and I purchased our first Curves in October of 2010. Needless to say we closed it three years later. Being a former member, we bought three more so they wouldn’t close. I believed in the system, at the time. We are multi-club owners in Northeast Ohio and have one more year on our franchise agreements, and boy are we counting the days. Bankruptcy may be in our future. We only go backwards with all the new standards we must keep investing in. We have never made a profit. We are struggling to pay rent and payroll. Because, you know, CI gets their cut first before anyone else. Our clubs only average about 130-140 active members. And we have another chaotic situation in NE Ohio dealing with our Cleveland Clinic Wellness members. It is a blessing and a curse.

    We have tried all of CI’s “tried and true” marketing gimmicks. Fliers, standess, direct mail marketing, lunch and learns, corporate deals, MIA calls, the scripts (what a joke)…we have done it all. What did we get, ZERO, ZILCH, NADA. Nothing but a waste of time. If the brand was any good we should not have to work that hard to get people in the door. Reputation speaks volumes.

    Let’s talk Jillian Michael’s. OY!! She directly competes with what she is supposedly marketing at Curves. Saw a commercial with her advertising a workout at home gym system. Why do I need to go to Curves is what that said to me. Why do I need to do her workout at Curves if I can just buy her DVD. Her workout at Curves just focuses on her and not the machines anymore anyway. I will give you, the workout will kick your butt, buy why do I need to spend $40 a month.

    My husband and I both have business management skills so we didn’t go into this blind. He works for a fortune 500 company and deals with big business on a daily basis. We have never seen anything handled as poorly as CI handles the business end of things. From a business standpoint, we get the re-branding, the new standards, new spokesperson…but, we have been lied to and mislead from the day we took over existing clubs. Like so many others, we were lied to by the previous owner about membership numbers, profits and the like. Curves didn’t care as long as they received their transfer fee. Angry, pissed off members came after us when the previous owner kept billing them after we took over. What a nightmare. And again, no oversight from CI. Then Monty all but guaranteed us we would see our new membership jump between 60-100 members in the first quarter of 2012. Where are they? Curves Complete has been a flop. Over priced for what it is. You can find free apps and websites that can give you the same thing. We have priced ourselves out of the fitness industry. In this economy people cannot afford $39 a month plus extra for Complete. NE Ohio is one of the worst hit areas hit by the economy.

    CI promises all these new items to sell. We hype them up to the members as instructed and in typical CI fashion, NOTHING is ever delivered on time. The bars were a disaster. Shipped months late and when we got them they were all melted. The shipping was a nightmare. The new mats have been delayed three times. The new clothing line looks pretty but now we are stuck with most of it and have made no money on it. And now we have to order next quarters products. The Jillian workouts are not going over as planned. The ladies really don’t like having to come at scheduled times. They are used to coming right after work, school…The most we have had in a class is six members. Our one club is too small really accommodate the new mats even with removal of two machines. Then we have to purchase the products display stand. We are just at our wits end because we have to purchase all of this new “stuff” to comply with new standards, our agreements are up in one year, they probably won’t sell and we will be stuck with all the new “stuff” we had to purchase.

    Several months back CI fined us with brand protection fees for three of our clubs and they would not tell us why or what we did.

    I could go on and on but I think most of you understand. If anyone has the capability to start some class action lawsuit please let as many Curves owners as possible. Most of us are so over Curves. It is just a shame that a good workout had to come down to greed.

    I know there are some cubs who are successful but I don’t think it has as much to do with skill as just being in the right place at the right time. That is not meant to offend anyone. Location plays a big part in this Curves system. And when clubs are right on top of each other, it is hard for anyone to be successful. I think rural areas tend to do better because Curves is the only game in town in those places.

    Wish you all the best of luck but I am not very optimistic about the future of Curves as a whole. It is really hard to try and sell something that I don’t believe in anymore.

    • tj

      If you get a class action going I’m IN. Closed my club 2/28/2013. Would not do another 5 year franchise agreement. Was a money pit and the only one getting rich was Gary and Diane. Feel that I did a Peace Core job for 5 years. Glad I got out when I did. Will never recover what I lost financially.

      • just plain tired

        I agree with almost everything sadowner said; Jillian is going well for us. But, since I didn’t buy their mats, I don’t get the new Jillian videos. They are expensive so that they can pay Jillian her kick back for the mats. Got $20 total from the recycle of 2 machines that I paid $1300 for EACH. I could have bought the required TV at Best Buy a lot cheaper than they ordered it from Best Buy for me–not allowed. They got their kick back. Seems every special is a cut in the enrollment fee from $199 now clear down to $29. Hurts me, not them. We have exactly the same issues in NE Indiana with unemployment. I am getting out now. I’m going to lose money if I buy everything they say. Might as well get out now as later.

    • Curious1

      Sadowner, I’m interested in learning more about your experience with Curve

  • Alan

    Anyone close a club up at least 1 to 2 or even 3 years ago that still had remaining time left on the agreement? What happened and how can you negotiate down the settlement amount when Ci and/or a collection agency start hounding and threatening to sue for total amount and attorneys fees?? HELP!

    • Meghan

      What has happened? Are you being hounded? Still? Are you in Canada?

  • Mary

    Dee Dee, I have been approached about purchasing here in Missouri would love to discuss more. What the challenges are & your experiences before I dive in.

  • Happy Curvette

    I have two clubs, the first bought in 2009 and the second one year ago. I have been a successful club owner during the worst part of the economy. I do use all the proven systems, and have had success with them. My first club is an Elite club, and I have installed the new equipment in both my clubs. Response from the members with Zumba, Jillian Michaels, and the new equipment has been 95% positive. Yes, I have struggled at times, and yes, the new equipment has been an extra investment not necessarily planned for, but both clubs are profitable and growing. The newer club had 250 members a year ago, and has grown to over 360 in a year. I have great staff in place, and we have regular weekly meetings for training. I try to keep a positive attitude and open mind, to give the new additions the benefit of the doubt. I also know many other club owners that have been successful as well.

    • The Franchise King

      That is great to hear!

      Keep it up!


    • Curves2012

      Hi Happy Curvette, I am also a newer club owner. We purchased ours in 2012, right before the Convention and all the changes. It has been a struggle but we also follow the proven systems, with some success but not quite where you are. We are benefiting from the many clubs in our area who recently closed. Last one standing is the winner! I am wondering what area you are in? I spoke to some owners at meetings and the convention who could survive because their rent was so low. Our club is in a high rent area, which makes it difficult, even with over 350 members to be successful. In any case, I am very happy to hear of successful Curves owners. We just received our new equipment and our members are thrilled. It is worth it to be able to give the members a modern, clean and fitness oriented club. Most of the clubs around us that closed were not changing. That is part of why they failed.

    • Chris

      Happy Curvette, are you netting at least $50K per year? Please define your “success.” It has been impossible for me to find an owner who makes over $30k per year. I have 500 members and can’t afford to pay myself. A sad situation, indeed.

    • Doris

      Happy Curvette … No response on your profitability should make anyone reading your upbeat commentary seriously suspicious. Since April 25, 2014, another 180 Curves in the U.S. have closed. The number of U.S. clubs open is exactly at 1800 as of Friday, October 3, 2014. In 2007 there were over 8,000! Since North Castle Partners bought a majority share of Curves, over 40% of the U.S. system has closed in just over 2 years. Alarming to say the least. If you are thinking of buying a Curves … you’d be better off giving all your money to a worthwhile charity.

  • OregonYankee

    I am a long time Curves member. Been a member for near 11 years. Love the workout.
    The things that go on at different locations! Jillian would have a cow if she saw how her program is administered around the country. I have worked out this year in about 10 states. The program is supposed to supply a coach to instruct and correct. I have found that there are coaches and there are “coaches”. There are more “coaches” than coaches. My opinion. “Coaches” may do nothing, sit at the desk, play on their phones, walk through a Jillian workout, demonstrating incorrect moves, lead a class with their backs turned, run a workout by calling out “change stations”.
    Explanation: I have a degree in physical education. I had to learn to teach dance and gymnastics, and all those other sports. So I understand line, and center of gravity. “Coaches” don’t. I don’t think Curves goes around and checks on how their coaches and “coaches” are doing. I’m not sure how they are trained.
    Our current owner has a lot of business experience and she tries hard, but even she cannot do the Jillian exercises correctly. I hate to correct her, because I am not a Curves employee, except people have gotten hurt.
    I get that they are trying to attract younger members. But the location I go to is surrounded by retirement communities. It must be hard to be younger and go into Curves and feel like you are working out with your grandmother (I am a senior myself). Curves should embrace the customer base that they have.
    Don’t get me started on their “new” website. What a disaster! It’s slow, and I haven’t been able to post a comment on it since it went live.
    That’s it for now. I could go on and on.

    • The Franchise King


      Thank a lot for all of that updated information on Curves!

      The Franchise King®

  • Dan

    My wife began working at the local Curves in 2002. The fitness program was a great match for her in the weight loss struggle after having three children. During the course of that time, she became solidly committed to the original Curves concept and would become the manager of our local facility. But, as in any personal service industry business, there was always that issue of “numbers.” The club is located in a very small rural Midwestern community, a micropolis according to Wikipedia. The club had around 300 members during the early days but I don’t think there was ever more than 200 active members. A few years later they “purged” their membership and dropped the total membership numbers down to a more accurate number. She always felt that she had to go out and beat the bushes to drum up new members to try and achieve that magical 300 number for success. Curves International gave the impression that the club could and would be quite successful and should be drawing more than 300 membership for our area as per other similar outlets. Unfortunately, our community for some reason is not like other similar outlets. Business models that are successful in other 15,000-20,000 populations just don’t seem to work here. I was born and raised in this community and have seen it happen time and again. But even with that membership monkey on her back, she believed in Curves and bled purple. She did everything in her power and beyond to try and make this club a Shining Star!
    The relationships have been an integral component for her at Curves. She has developed many positive relationships over the years and has had a key role in helping women achieve their fitness goals. But then came the NCP changeover, Jillian, and more. It seemed that the new direction taken by the new corporate was going against many of the things that had made Curves a fun place to workout under the leadership of the Heavins. The membership never could cross that plateau of 275 and even continued to drop until it is now under 200. Understandably, some of that drop has been more related to outside circumstances, such as relocation for employment, etc., but I believe that the rigid transition and unabashed destruction of the positives under the Heavins have played a substantial role as well.
    The last couple of years have been a very stressful time for her in leadership at the club. She was a paid employee, not the owner, and because of the small number of staff, she had no insurance other than an individual policy that she paid for out of pocket. It’s understandable for a small business, I don’t argue that. But things were shifting and the joy of Curves simply wasn’t there anymore. Sure there was the relationships with the women, but economically, the writing was on the wall. The owner began considering selling the club as she was thinking of relocating to another state and was suffering health issues. We considered the possibility of purchasing the club and trying to make a go at it. We prayed and pushed pencils to see how it could work, but we just couldn’t see how. Her blood was no longer the purple that it had been four years before, her spirit for the organization was defeated. She eventually changed to a job similar to what she was employed in before becoming the manager of Curves so that she could have the benefits (i.e. insurance) that were not available at Curves. She continued to work at Curves although no longer in a managerial status. As this year has progressed, the owner has attempted to sell the club but has had very few nibbles, all backing out. This Friday will be the final workout at our local club as the owner has had enough. It has become so cost prohibitive, and her health has continued to deteriorate. So it’s been a great ride, Curves has helped a great deal of women and we have believed in its origins. But like I said earlier, it is tough to be in business in the service industry. Maybe Curves has run it’s course? Could it be in the realms of the Jane Fonda Workout now, or maybe even the 8-track?

  • Curves Owner For Now

    Curves is now down to 1600 operating franchises in the United States. The recovery has certainly not been in the Curves system. Now NCP, who owns Curves Corporate, has purchased Jenny Craig and it trying to resurrect that brand.

    • Curves worried

      Help! I am a Curves Owner in a small rural town in PA and was recently on their new top 1000 list for all my new members in January – 10!! Wow – that is such a bad number and I was in the top producing clubs! Also with my attrition at 5%. What does that say about the brand when such a poorly producing club is one of the top. Most of my long term members love the club, but new members just don’t stick around. I have a 5 year lease and a 5 year contract with 3 1/2 years left. I really don’t want to let down my members. Curves works and the new classes are excellent. Just can’t generate enough business. I work for pretty much peanuts as the owner. Barely break even every month.

      • Sherri

        I work at a Curves and the owner is trying to sell it but with the way things are going with NCP I doubt he would be able to even give it away. If you’re a franchise owner and have a problem you are pretty much on your own. It is very difficult to get a straight answer from corporate. Our membership is down 35% since 2013, other gyms are moving in with extremely low rates and clients are canceling their memberships. Curves just isn’t what it use to be. Which is a shame because it really does work. I have not met a single member anywhere that likes the new kiosk system. They took a great product, broke it, and are now charging more for it.

        • The Franchise King

          What a disappointment.

          Hope things turn around. And, soon!


          • Sherri

            Nope :( We are closing. Curves International is just asking too much with the new franchise agreements. You have to purchase all new equipment or you’ll be billed a regular penalty. Sometimes I wonder if they want Curves to fail. North castle partners are doing a pretty good job of it.

  • Glad I’m Out in Ky

    I owned a club for 13 years. Sold my 1st club for $58,000. It was a small club and was sold 2 more times — finally it closed. My newer club, I had for 10 years in a larger area in a neighborhood next to a supermarket. At first, it made $$$. Then the economy slipped. My area was hit hard by unemployment. My AD always made me feel like “it was my fault” for members cancelling, she said “if they are losing weight, they will stay.” I made sure that my members were w/m monthly, did the machines correctly and did everything the “Curves way.” Members who lost wt were cancelling — it became choosing between a gym membership and paying bills — as most of the cancellations were due to a breadwinner losing their job — the gym was a luxury. For the past 4 years I have paid myself. I struggled to get to the end of my franchise agreement — I had a spreadsheet that was counting down the days/months. Finally the day came, and my club is now closed. There used to be 20+ in the city and surrounding areas, but now on 3 remain. The SilverSneakers program killed my club. These ladies don’t pay, but their insurance pays based on their attendance. The max they pay is for 8 visits/monthly, not even the full amount — then CI takes a cut. My membership became 90% SilverSneakers. Only a few come, most come in, get a key tag and never come back. A senior living patio homes was located close to my club. They don’t like Zumba, Jillian Michaels (most didn’t like her on the Biggest Loser). My club turned very social — a place where older members would come for flexibility only — not for fitness, losing weight — just movement.

    I met my franchise agreement. Scrapped ALL of my machines and outdoor signage per CI’s instruction. CI has held my wellness payment for January and Feb. I just found out that it takes 4-5 weeks for me to get my wellness payment. I didn’t have enough money to close — yes, it takes $$$ to close a club.

    I am so frustrated — I paid ALL of my royalty and ad fees — CI knows this. But my wellness payment has been held. I met my agreement — still being punished by CI. NEVER AGAIN. By the way, I was never a bored housewife — worked in the corporate world — just believed in Curves — that at one time, it was a great workout for women…..but their idea of marketing — standing in front of a day care and handing out flyers, passing out flyers on cars, etc — never generated any new members. I wonder where all my ad fees went?

    Really glad to be out. Even though we put in our own money and for the last 2 1/2 years I worked a part-time job to support keeping my club open — I still have my SHIRT!!! (Just barely)

  • Glad I’m Out in Ky

    Made a mistake — I have NOT paid myself in the past 4 years. After the rent, taxes, salaries, utilities, insurance, phone, CI fees — there was no money left.

  • Terri

    6 months ago “Curves Owner For Now” below wrote there were 1,600 U.S. locations left open. Well, you can scratch another 220 that have closed off that count to make the current U.S. count 1,380.

  • Janice Davies

    Picking up on a comment made, that they sometimes wonder if CI wants Curves to fail. What would be the actual legal
    obligation of Curves owners to CI in that case?

  • Charlotte

    I have wanted to open a curves for years. Not as a bored housewife but as a retiring Nurse and member of the military. I could not lose weight with traditional weight loss or army training CURVES was the only thing that helped me lose over 30 in 6 months. I have researched the Internet to find out if the franchise was still available. It may be a long shot but I’m totally on track with curves and would love to start my own ,not even thinking I will make a huge profit. But rather thinking I will make a huge difference in lives