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SNAP FITNESS

After two decades, Peter sold America’s Fitness Centers and was looking forward to trying something new when a former employee came to him with a request. The employee, also seeking a change, asked Peter to start a gym for him to run. Peter declined several times until one day he started thinking about how they could create a more value driven model. Instead of balancing the huge overhead of swimming pools, racquetball courts and aerobics studios, what if the gym services were completely streamlined? Providing the three most readily used amenities in health clubs today… Selectorized machines, free weights and cardio equipment. Peter’s clubs were open 24 hours a day, required no membership contract and when you belong to one you have access to all of them. Requiring a smaller footprint and layout, the gyms could be positioned in neighborhood strip centers where people often passed on their routes to and from work. Taunton’s Philosophy was right on the mark with what people were looking for… “when your gym is conveniently located, people tend to use it more and when they use it more, the value’s there and they don’t quit”.

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR

Taunton’s accomplishments have been well-recognized by the business community. In 2010, he was named Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year.” His companies have also been featured in such prestigious industry lists as Entrepreneur 500, Inc 5000, Top Global and Franchise 500.

For Taunton, it comes down to one word: passion. He has it, he teaches it, and the results speak for themselves. Even as his operations expand, he remains ever-committed to providing owners and members with the tools and programs they need to reach life-changing goals.

Today there are Snap Fitness franchises in 2,500 locations in 26 countries. And Taunton, CEO of Lift Brands, didn’t stop there.

Taunton is an expert at understanding consumer desires and fulfilling them. Over the last 10 years he has invested and founded several brands to round out the consumer-fitness experience; 9Round, Farrell’s, YogaFit, STEELE Fitness, Fitness On Demand. Together with the Snap Fitness brand they comprise the world’s largest wellness franchise organizations with over 6000 locations a across multiple brands serving 165 million workouts and counting.

He leads with infectious enthusiasm, which attracts prospective owners from all over the world. He provides them affordable financing, world-class support and an easy turnkey process. Most importantly he teaches them his own management philosophy, “Success is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.”

Other Ventures

Peter does not believe in retirement, only in the next chapter. In 2019, he stepped down as the CEO of Lift Brands but remains on in an advisory role. Over the years he has partnered in the development of several other projects and businesses that continue to keep him busy to this day. An African safari trip led to an investment and eventual co-ownership of Taasa Lodge located just outside the Serengeti National park in Tanzania, which Peter worked to redevelop into a 5-star destination. What began as a benefit concert with friend Tim McGraw segued into a three-day music festival, Twin Cities Summer Jam. And a chat with a fellow congregant at church led to Peter’s involvement in Global Child TV, a travel show available on Amazon Prime that visits luxury hotels in extraordinary locations while giving back to the communities in each place through the BIG Foundation, leaving each place a little better than they found it.

Peter also co-owns Aspen Laboratories, a company that manufactures biodegradable material in place of plastic that is used in injection moldings from everything from interior store signage to K-cups.

In 2020, Peter founded and launched Elevare Wellness Products, a company offering premium CBD products ranging from tinctures, topicals, gummies, pet snacks and eye drops… all products our organic, gmo free, gluten free, vegan and non-genetically modified products with a +90% absorption rate.

Consulting Services

From his wealth of knowledge and expertise, Peter continues to teach and share his business and management philosophies through motivational social media posts and podcast interviews. Through his consulting services he provides mentorship for startups or established companies on:

  • Business strategy and analysis
  • Domestic and international expansion
  • Building a franchise system
  • Pivoting in a competitive marketplace
  • Real estate investing
  • Lifestyle or career transitioning

He knows from experience that setbacks are part of growing and should never affect or influence your determination to succeed or the discipline required to achieve success. Peter advises that all who enter entrepreneurship will have their confidence and courage tested at one point or another… so always remember you can’t take the hill without taking the first step.

Public Speaking
Peters public speaking abilities and his passion for sharing his knowledge resulted in him being a frequent guest on podcasts. Other people can learn from his endeavors as the chart their own entrepreneurial journey.
FIRST BUSINESS SUCCESS

It was because of racquetball and one fateful phone call that led to Peter running and soon owning his first health club. Before moving to Orlando Florida to compete in the Sunbelt Tour, he called the owners of the local club where he practiced in Willmar, Minnesota and invited them to breakfast. Even in his early twenties, Peter had a good head on his shoulders and knew the club was losing money. He pointed out to the owners that the manager they had in place was not engaged with the members or the community and didn’t understand the importance of delivering an exceptional customer service experience to its members. He told the owners if they ever wanted to turn things around to give him a call, and a year and a half later, they did.

Peter was promised only $16,000 a year in salary but a chance to buy out the owners if the business turned around. Within five years, through bartering for interior upgrades, and training the staff to peak performance, membership sales skyrocketed… growing the club profits from losing $200,000 a year to gaining $250,000 in profit. He secured ownership and with the debt paid down, over the next 15 years he repeated that cycle building 6 more health clubs to what became the brand America’s Fitness Centers.

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Philanthropy

Through the Peter Taunton Warrior Foundation, Peter focuses on three main causes that he has passion for -- when it comes to charity, just sprinkling a little help here and there does not accomplish much in his mind, but in these three areas he puts in the fight to meet the need.

Military Families: His first focus is to support the families of fallen or critically injured soldiers by contributing funding towards the education of their children. Recognizing that PTSD is a real issue, Peter also assists in providing service dogs to help those who return from serving the country and are suffering.

Anti-Poaching: While a love of animals has always been strong in his heart, Peter’s trips to the Serengeti have reinforced his appreciation for wildlife and he works to do what he can to stop or slow the poaching of these often endangered animals.

Support the Homeless: Lastly, Peter fights for the underdog… he mentors, feeds and financially helps the homeless for those who have lost hope and have yet been able to recover.

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Peter Taunton
Beginnings

Peter grew up, one of seven children, in a small midwestern town in Willmar, Minnesota. He grew up from humble beginnings attending a two-room schoolhouse. After finishing high school Peter paid his own way through the first three years of college at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. But by junior year he recalls sitting in a business statistics class, feeling frustrated by the subject matter, burdened by accumulating tuition debt and tired of living paycheck to paycheck. At breakfast one morning with his twin brother Paul, Peter had had enough and promptly closed his textbook announcing that he was quitting college. His brother would go on to quit that same day. Keeping the decision secret from their parents, the brothers would finish out the semester living in their dorm room and honing in their racquetball skills.

Peter had first picked up a racquet at age thirteen and still remembers how natural he adapted to the sport. With a tremendous amount of practice, his level increased dramatically eventually becoming a sponsored player for Ektelon and turning pro. The discipline and dedication learned while playing at such a high level would later fuel his success in business. His discipline, consistency and competitive nature found he and his brother ranked as the No. 2 doubles team in the country.

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