KiwiMex Sets Course for Success With Team-Building Sailing Experience

With the sea so close to its Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts locations, KiwiMex found the perfect opportunity to celebrate 10 years in 2018 with a team-building experience on the water. Owner Steve Eddleston chartered the 115-foot, 1939 restored schooner Eros for two days of sailing in the Narragansett Bay area close to Newport, Rhode Island. 

“We wanted to do something special to recognize all the hard work our management team had put in over the year and also find an event that would help us further build our team skills as we have more units to build in the coming years,” Eddleston explained. “Having been a sailor for many years and now living in Rhode Island, I came across Eros. After discussions with the ship’s owner, I learned they were planning on racing the schooner in a couple of local regattas against other classic sailboats and that they would welcome the opportunity to have my team join the crew for the event.” 

Together with the crew, KiwiMex brought general managers and regional managers from its 17 locations to the area for a team-building session full of sailing education and racing fun. The first day was spent learning about the diverse roles available to team members of all backgrounds and fitness levels. Those who took an active role were coached by professional sailors for the morning portion. After lunch, the crew took the yacht out for some racing.  

After reassembling on day two, the Planet Fitness team enjoyed a warm-up sail and a full day of racing fun. “We raced against a colorful array of beautiful boats of various ages from around the world,” Eddleston said. After the event, there was a clambake dinner with all the other boats crews where prizes were awarded for the various classes.

For Eddleston, there is an immense return on the investment to bringing his team together for one or two days each year. He’s even considering returning to Eros for this year’s event. “Team members are still talking about the experience, telling me how much they learned about communications, teamwork, being aware of the environment – the ship with all its equipment and maintenance like the gym, the competitive setting of the race with other vessels, and the camaraderie that comes from working together in a setting away from the job,” he said. “Many said they formed relationships with other managers from distant locations they would never have built day-to-day at the gym.” 

That sense of team is what makes activities such as the sailing experience so important to KiwiMex and Eddleston. “As far as I am concerned, the value of our brand is held every day by our gym teams who are face to face with our members,” Eddleston said. I believe taking the time out on a regular basis, be it summer parties, holiday events, conferences, etc., makes our people feel valued and recognized for all their contributions by ownership.