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Local fitness firm in good shape

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  • | 10:00 a.m. December 17, 2010
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Chatter over a genuine economic recovery has percolated around the region for a few months. The latest anecdotal evidence: A chain of women-only gyms on the Gulf Coast had a terrific autumn.

Indeed, Vince Julien, president of Tampa-based Shapes Total Fitness for Women, says this past October not only beat the company's results from the same month last year, it was the company's best October ever. November was also pretty good, he says.

Julien, part of a commercial real estate panel at a recent event in Manatee County hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers, says it's too early to explain the increase in members and business.

But he's confident the growth will last well into next year. “I think 2011 will be a great year,” says Julien. “I believe that wholeheartedly.”

Julien plans to pounce on the trend. The company, with 13 fitness centers spread through Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas counties, will undergo a major rebranding effort next year, he says. In the more long-term future, Julien says he hopes to launch a franchise model for Shapes and in a separate move, he says he will open some co-ed gyms on the Gulf Coast.


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