Clovis News

Sierra Sport & Racquet gets Gold's Gym sites

The owners of Sierra Sport & Racquet Club have acquired the two Gold's Gym locations in Fresno, bringing to five the number of facilities that they operate in the area.

Robert Mitchell, who owns the fitness company with wife Juli, said that gym membership is growing in Fresno, despite nagging economic hard times that have cost jobs and pushed up the unemployment rate.

The Gold's name will disappear at Blackstone and Griffith avenues and at Fort Washington and Friant roads when the Sierra Sport signs are affixed.

Sierra Sport & Racquet Club acquires the building, equipment and members from the Gold's franchisee.

"It was a great opportunity," Mitchell said. "The economy is showing signs of improvement, and I'm optimistic and confident about the future."

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the Mitchells now offer a variety of fitness packages and locations.

The Mitchells have owned Sierra Sport & Racquet Club in northwest Fresno for about 12 years, added the former Dan Gamel's club near Blackstone and Shaw avenues in 2008 and acquired Shapemakers 2000 about a year ago.

With the addition of the former Gold's Gym and an additional Shapemakers site at First Street and Herndon Avenue in 2010, the Mitchells will operate 200,000 square feet of fitness centers with thousands of members and more than 200 employees.

The amenities will include two women's-only facilities, 31 hard tennis courts, two grass tennis courts, seven racquetball courts, a squash court, six martial arts studios, two outdoor pools, two indoor pools, an outdoor basketball court and five volleyball courts.

Sierra now offers more than 200 complimentary group classes, ranging from karate to Pilates.

Sierra also hosts two national junior tennis tournaments and The Fresno City Championships, one of the largest adult tennis tournaments in the Valley.

Mitchell said fitness is a luxury that many families are keeping. George Brown, who owns four GB3 health clubs in the area, agrees.

Newly unemployed people often get gym memberships so they can stay in shape, network and pass the time, Brown said.

Membership is up at his clubs, and Brown is considering expanding to the area around northeast Fresno and Clovis and west of Highway 99. Landlords and property owners are eager to please, so real estate costs have decreased and good deals are plentiful, Brown said.

"You hear a lot of negative stuff, but we are increasing every month," he said.