Town Sports International Gym was founded in 1973 by squash enthusiast Harry Saint. He began with St. John Squash Racket, a public squash playing club that was unique at a time when most squash players belonged to exclusive clubs. Saint opened two more squash locations, including Town Squash.
By the late 70s, Saint realized that his squash clubs were not appealing to the general public but newly introduced machines like Nautilus and stair climbing were becoming popular. He took advantage of this and began adding these machines while introducing monthly memberships, as opposed to yearly membership fees.
Today, Town Sports International is a premier fitness and sports club, creating a sound business model that has provided strong profits and allowed the company to build new clubs and acquire many underperforming mom-and-pop operations.
Its brands include New York Sports Clubs, Boston Sports Clubs, Philadelphia Sports Clubs, Washington Sports Clubs, Lucille Roberts, TMPL Gym and Total Woman Gym and Spa. The company went public on the NASDAQ in 2006.
There are currently 155 locations in New York, Connecticut, Boston, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, D.C., California, and Switzerland, with the majority of these being located in New York.
In August 2019, Town Sports invited SoulCycle and Equinox members to work out for free at their locations after Soul Cycle members called for a boycott when it was discovered that the chairman of Soul Cycle/Equinox was hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection.