Seeking to rebuild a sagging membership and improve services to its users, JCC MetroWest is bringing in new management for its fitness center in West Orange.
MediFit, based in Florham Park, will replace New York-based Plus One Health Management, which has provided fitness personnel and programs at the Bildner Family Fitness and Wellness Center for the past five years.
MediFit takes over at the center in the Leon & Toby Cooperman JCC, Ross Family Campus, as of New Year’s Day.
JCC MetroWest CEO Alan Feldman told NJ Jewish News that the number of JCC “membership units” (families and individuals) has declined by 700 since the stock market crash of 2008.
“Part of the reason for making the change was the decline in membership, and part was wanting to strengthen our systems and directions,” he said in a phone interview.
Feldman is hoping to return to the days when “at our peak we had probably about 4,600” membership units.
He said “it was not the staff” that could be held responsible for the drop-off.
MediFit will hire and directly supervise a full- and part-time staff, while the JCC will supervise non-fitness personnel in the adult enrichment, early childhood, arts, and Jewish life departments.
MediFit will keep 97 percent of the current staff, and, Feldman said, some will be elevated to “a new middle-management level that will give them the opportunity to have a much wider impact in what the JCC does.”
The move, he said, “was about changing strategic directions in terms of organizing and managing programs and behind-the-scenes systems that are used to track participation and usage and keep people engaged.”
“Hopefully, the only effect on members is that they will find the programs we do will be better,” added Feldman. “They will see more people on the floor helping them, and they will get a better level of service than they got previously.”
In 2005, the JCC joined a number of other Jewish community centers around the country in outsourcing fitness staffing and certain membership functions, in part to remain competitive with commercial fitness clubs.
“I am very optimistic that this will lead to new members and that the existing members will find their needs in an even better manner than they were before,” said Feldman.