BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Kay Yuspeh

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:16 pm


Kay Yuspeh, Owner/CEO of Elite Sports Clubs
Locations: Brookfield – 13825 W. Burleigh Rd.
Mequon – 11616 N. Port Washington Rd.
North Shore – 5750 N. Glen Park Rd.
West Brookfield – 600 N. Barker Rd.
River Glen – 2001 W. Good Hope Rd.
Industry: Health & fitness clubs
Number of employees: 450
Family: Husband of 40 years, Richard; children Barrie, Alex, Sam

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“Expanding the Elite Sports Clubs brand to five clubs in the Greater Milwaukee area by purchasing the former Le Club property, now known as River Glen, in Glendale. We now have three clubs in the North Shore area – Mequon, North Shore and River Glen – plus two clubs in Brookfield. With the addition of River Glen, we are the premier tennis facility with 44 courts. Plus we offer basketball, state-of-the-art equipment, 10 swimming pools, extensive weight-training, cardiovascular areas and free group classes at each location.”

What’s new at your company?
“Elite Sports Clubs is rolling out a fine arts program, ‘Elite Life for Kids,’ which offers piano, string instruments and art education all under one roof through a variety of classes and private lessons for children, from infants through high school students. Tennis and swim classes round out the fitness aspect of the program. It’s a school-year program open to members and non-members, who have the option of purchasing a punch card to use our facilities while their kids take classes.  

“This program is part of a national health club trend to add value and provide mind and body balance for participants. It’s a one-stop option for parents that provides them with top quality fine arts and sports training.”

What does innovation look like at your company, and how do you distinguish your company from other fitness clubs?
“Innovation in our company is integrating the latest fitness research and trends into our programs through classes and our personal training programs. For instance, we have a class that combines ballet’s barre’ training, yoga, cross training, and more.  

“As a local owner, we distinguish ourselves by being a part of the community – from sponsoring runs to working on fitness initiatives with local school districts to charity fundraisers. It’s important for us to give back to a community that has been a part of Elite for the past 26 years. Elite Sports Clubs is a family-based club with members ranging from infants to seniors. In fact, we have many members who have been with us from day one.”

How has your company managed to grow from one to five locations in the past 26 years?
“We have grown steadily by purchasing existing tennis clubs and turning them into multi-use facilities and offering quality family programming and facilities. We have reinvested in our clubs over the years, adding outdoor pools, new equipment, spacious locker rooms, kids’ interactive play areas, summer camps and much more.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Our software conversion. When it’s completed, we will be able to enhance our e-marketing and communication to members and non-members. It will allow us to go green by emailing our newsletters and class schedules as well as invoices. This conversion will be a slow roll-out so we can communicate the changes to our staff and members.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“The hottest trend at our clubs and many others is water, aquatic fitness. We have 10 salt-water pools, indoor and outdoor, and they have never been busier. As we have seen the population age, water exercise is booming. We offer classes that assist with physical therapy, joint strengthening and arthritis. In addition, we are expanding our aquatics classes for youth, and for the first time Elite Clubs will offer competitive water ballet.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“My business mantra has always been ‘great staff, great facilities, great programs.’ If we keep that focus we will have success.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“My father always said, ‘Trust your gut’ and ‘stick to the market and community you know.’ I have followed his advice as an owner and operator all these years, and it has helped me tremendously along the way.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“Looking back, the strangest and funniest thing that happened to me occurred early in my career when I was managing the old South Shore club. I received a call at three in the morning from the police that there was a large hole in the club and I needed to secure the club. I hung up but then realized what he said and called the officer back. I drove to the club in the middle of the night and he was right. The large hole was actually from someone driving a car into the locker room. Luckily, everyone was OK.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and travelling. In addition, I am an avid swimmer and horseback rider. With 10 pools at our clubs, I don’t have an excuse for not swimming!”

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