OWNERS PLANNING A BETTER SPORTS CLUB FOR NEW MILFORD
NEW MILFORD — A father and son business team has bought New Milford Sports Club with a vision for upgrades to the gym at 130 Grove Street.
Dominick Donofrio Sr. and Dominick Donofrio Jr., investors who have local roots, recently closed on the business in a 40,000-square-foot building to add it to their portfolio of ski areas, oil companies and gas stations in the Northeast.
As a sports club for 20 years and known formerly as The Club before 2008, New Milford Sports Club has 1,650 members, 65 employees and annual sales of about $1.8 million. Members pay a monthly fee of $60 to $70 per month to use the facilities.
Details of the business transaction were not released.
The seller, CLAY Health Club & Spa of Manhattan, was not available for comment.
Donofrio Jr. said they formed New Milford Sports Club LLC so they can keep the name.
“We’re keeping the name because it’s a community name and we love it,” he said. “People know the name in the community and we want to be community friendly. Only the logo will change.”
The buyers have signed a 10-year lease with two five-year options to buy the building for an undisclosed amount. Bruce Weinstein, who co-owns the building with his partner, Gene Rosen, said he is excited by the Donofrios’ plans to improve the facility.
“The Donofrios have the energy, the passion and the resources to improve the amenities and services offered to elevate the members’ experiences,” he said.
Plans are already in motion to make extensive renovations and improvements to the facility. Donofrio Jr. said the lap pool, therapy pool and hot tub area will receive attention first.
They will fix the floor to make it nonslip, repaint the inside of the pool and the walls, fix the windows and repair the dehumidification system.
Another major improvement will be the replacement of cardio and weight equipment in the equipment room. The facade of the building will also get a major facelift.
As for new amenities, the Donofrios will soon offer children, ages 5 and up, a “Kids Spa,” which is a miniature replica of the gym equipment their parents use. Donofrio Jr. thinks it’s a great way to give children a physical outlet while their parents are working out. A ball pit, slide and climbing wall will also be part of the new children’s zone.
Donofrio Jr. spent some of his formative years growing up in New Milford. He once played for the New Milford Bulls and he is now a coach for the youth football team.
“I played sports since I was a little kid. I’ve always been to gyms and always had an interest in the fitness industry,” he said. I know New Milford. I know the town needs. It needs a gym that it can be very proud of.”
Donofrio Jr. said they see great potential for growth.
“We want to show the community of New Milford a better club,” he said.
Donofrio Jr. will be involved with their new business on a daily basis. Donofrio Jr. lives in Winsted and Donofrio Sr. lives in Branford. Donofrio Jr. said there will be no staff changes.
They’re also very pleased with the current management team under the direction of Paulette Smith, general manager. She has been with the club for 14 years.
The owners are going to participate in a program called “SilverSneakers Fitness” that serves the retirement community. They also just purchased two buses that will transport senior citizens to-and-from the club so they can work out and socialize together.
The buses will be running every 15 to 20 minutes and they hope to expand this service to neighboring towns. Eventually, they may offer this busing service to private schools in the area.
The New Milford Sports Club will also offer more exercise classes, the cafe will be upgraded and aquatic bikes will be bought for the therapy pool.
Donofrio Jr. said, “the membership rates will stay the same. We hope with these improvements the members will see that their money is actually being used for them. We’re hoping that the former members decide to come back.”
Their goal is to increase membership and double revenue within a year.
Did You Know?
Over 54 million Americans use a health club
There are 34,460 health clubs in the US
Total US health club industry revenue, $24.2 billion
Article and photos are by Alicia Sakal. Originally written for Republican-American, July 6, 2016 online edition; July 7, 2016 print edition.