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On the Circuit

This couple exercises skill in owning a gym.

It had worked for Kim Gore, 36, but she wasn't sure if Curves for Women was the right opportunity for herself and her husband, Rick, 43. "Both of us have always enjoyed working out," says Kim, 36. "I had worked in a health club before, but I really had no interest in owning a gym. It hadn't even crossed our minds."

But the more she discovered about the Curves program, which includes 30 minutes of circuit training as well as an aerobic workout, the more she became interested in the business's potential. A trip to the franchise's Waco, Texas, headquarters sold the couple, who had previously ran a home improvement and landscaping business together.

The Gores opened their St. Augustine Beach, Florida, Curves in April 2001. Within a year, they moved from their initial 1,000-square-foot center to a 2,400-square-foot center to accommodate their growing client list. Now, the Gores have two complete equipment circuits to serve their 800 members.

In addition to workouts, the Gores teach diet and weight-loss guidance classes. Through a program offered by Curves and Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey, Kim is considering a degree in nutrition to further benefit her franchise's members, who range in age from 11 to 86.

The Gores have also worked to tailor Curves' operating hours to members' needs and habits. The St. Augustine Beach Curves is open 10 hours a day, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. "[Curves] did studies and found that people typically don't work out between 12 and 4," Kim explains, "so we shut down in the middle of the day to do marketing, clean the equipment and stuff like that without having to pay for electricity and staff."

This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »