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Tony Cowen

Health is a passion to me. The difference that Fitness can make to peoples lives at any age is huge. We are all living far longer, and in order to enjoy our lives, not to be sick, we need to exercise. It doesn't mean we all have to be olympic athletes. It means that we exercise in order to maintain ourselves.

Our human frames have evolved over 1,000s of years of being hunter gatherers. We are not built to sit down all day, and the issue is that with so many labour saving devices helping us not to exercise like cars, lifts, escalators (to name but a few), the solution is health clubs! So are business is to help people, which is a great business to be in.

We chose Poland because of its potential. When we arrived only 0.5% of the market were members of health clubs. As we all know Poland is in the centre of Europe and has great potential for growth, its a beautiful place, with great people, a good education system, and a great work ethic. Its also the only country in Europe not to have gone into recession during the recent crisis. I am very happy here and have now lived here for 6 years, however I have to say I prefer the summers :-)

When we arrived in Poland we met Joanna Gajewska, who managed to pursuade Amnon and Yoram from Blue City to meet us. We then managed to persuade them during some friendly but tough and interesting negotiations to allow us into their centre, which was at the time probably best described as work in progress. I would like to say that the work Yoram, Ron and the team have done in Blue City is phenomenal, and it is now truly a great centre. We hope that we have played some part in this success

Next we met up Anna and Mariusz from GTC and negotiated some space in Galeria Kasimiersz. They also showed faith in us and we have a very successful club in their centre, and several others Mariusz is involved with

Our next deal was with Krzystoff Dorothy and yanusz at Zloty Tarasy. We managed to win the site despite their being 4 other competitors, and have continued great relations with the centre, and both Krzystoff and yanusz although both have left to ventures new. After gaining our site in Zloty Tarasy we found that this really helped with our discussions with other LLs as we were now a serious player. So we are grateful to all involved

We are a Polish company, we have managed to expand to Czech, Romania, Istanbul, malaysia and Indonesia. We now have 67 clubs, so quiet a ride in the last 5 years. We have 2,500 staff and are expanding.

We are currently about to build a new club in Wroclaw Magnolia, and have a pipeline of future clubs in Poland. We are also about to build in Eden centre in Czech. We have just opened a wonderful club in Akasya istanbul with 2 pools one outside and one inside. We are in Trump towers and other prestigious developments such as Armarni Macka, Bellevue, Astoria, and City's. We will continue our expansion in all markets.

Its good to have competition, and we wish them well, as they too are creating the habit of Fitness in our markets. We have learned to operate so many clubs through good operating procedures that we are constantly monitoring and developing, but as most know the most important part of our business is to have great people, and we are lucky to have so many truly inspirational people who are a part of our business. We are proud of them.

There are differences in operating clubs in Turkey compared to Poland. However our human bodies are not different, and the clubs are busiest on the same days at the same times, which always makes me smile. This is true in all our markets.

We have great relationships with most LLs. We see it as a kind of partnership, we are there to help each other. The great LLs are the ones you can meet quickly discuss the issues, get to the root of the real problem and then shake hands and move on. I find in business when thinking with like minded people there is always a solution.

Shopping centres can benefit from having Pure Jatomi on board as we are simply a good marriage, and are long term players and thinkers

We opened a private members business club called Pure Skyclub three years ago. We did this because when we were in the setting up phase of Pure Jatomi, we found that we were having a lot of meetings in coffee shops and hotel lobby's. We simply wanted to get businesses together in order for them to help each other, and we wanted to do this in the best location and that's why we chose the top floor of the skylight building in the heart of the CBD. We are proud to say that we have lots of great members from BZW BK, Emirates, Facebook, Google and we are also proud to say we have many famous members from Robert Lewandowski, Kamal Stoch. Ewa Chodakowska to Mike Tyson to name but a few . The club holds many entertainment events too from the top gear and dancing with the stars after parties to press conferences for brands like LG and Samsung. We have also just become popular with companies listed on the Warsaw stock exchange for their shareholder meetings as we have all facilities known to man. We also have a function room with an amazing view that can cater for up to 200 delegates, or 200 wedding guests

The club is for people who are or who want to be successful

My wife and I recently opened another new business called Justyna's secret recipes (her name). This is a fresh ingredients food, eating, and coffee shop. Our sandwiches are made fresh every day, anything left over is given to the charity Alter Ego which is a charity for the homeless. Ex pats love the English bacon, which we fly over. The shop is based on Marszalkowska 138, 00-004 Warszawa and we are opening another too in the underground by the Rotunda.

We want our customers to come for the warm welcome, great fresh food, and then to buy a coffee, rather than the normal coffee shop operators who want you tome come for a coffee, and then you my buy some food. We hope to turn justyna's into a chain in the near future.

If you love what you do then business is not work! So yes I love what I do, but as mentioned I could do none of the above without all our great people. I of course not mention all, but there are many...

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