I went to the San Francisco SOMA Gold’s Gym this morning for my normal workout, but it wasn’t there.
The family that owns the local Gold’s franchise kept their 2010 promise to move their 4 gyms away from Gold’s when their contractual obligations ended.
Instead of the yellow and black Gold’s logo, I was greeted by a new look for the new gym, Fitness SF.
The staff, equipment, and services are all the same. But, now the workout center is free from the stigma of the prejudices of Robert Rowling, who as CEO of the national Gold’s holding company gave $2 million to the anti-gay PAC American Crossroads.
In October, 2010, the news media reported Rowling’s substantial investment in anti-gay political efforts. In addition to his gift to the Carl Rove-connected PAC, Rowling gave money to individual candidates who oppose gay rights such as Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann .
At the time, the National Gold’s corporation sought to distance itself from the political positions of its lead owner. “Gold’s Gym did not make a donation to American Crossroads (or any other political organization) and in no way supports anti-gay causes,” the corporation is quoted as saying in a statement. “Gold’s Gym is a non-political organization and our member’s dues are not used to fund political candidates. Bob Rowling, the CEO of our ownership group, TRT Holdings, made a private donation completely independent from (and not on behalf of) Gold’s Gym.”
Don Dickerson, the director of operations for Gold’s Gym Bay Area, spoke out against the national Gold’s owner’s actions. In an October, 2010 statement to local Gold’s members quoted in the San Francisco Examiner, Dickerson promised to end the local organization’s relationship with the national group as soon as it legally could. In addition, the local company promised, “For every dollar we pay Gold’s Gym in franchise fees we will donate an equal or greater amount to LGBT charities. While we donate much more than this to charities and community groups that support the LGBT community we want to make a commitment to match or exceed this amount until our relationship with Gold’s Gym can be severed.”
Congratulations to Fitness SF, the family-run business that honored its two-year-old promise and cut its ties with Gold’s. Even after media attention moved on to other issues, Fitness SF acted on its principles. It risks a loss of some business without the ability for its members to work out at other Gold’s when they travel. But, Fitness SF will keep my business because it kept its promise.