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UK-based Mosaic Spa & Health Clubs is using charity to re-discover the company’s mission. Ray Algar reports.

Recently I was presenting a summary of my Fitness Sector Social Good Report to representatives of the UK fitness industry. During questions, I was asked if there was evidence that being perceived as a compassionate and generous business generated a commercial return to the organisation. Do customers, staff and other stakeholders really care that an organisation is using its resources to solve social inequalities that may seem unconnected to its core business? I was surprised by the question because the fitness sector is driven by an altruistic purpose – it exists to help others. Meanwhile businesses such as TOMS thrive because compassion and generosity are their ‘weapons of choice’ in the fiercely competitive world of shoes and eyewear, where their ‘buy one, we donate one’ is transforming lives and industries. So this month, I want to share a story of how UK-based Mosaic Spa & Health Clubs (Mosaic) is using compassion to reinvigorate a 27-year-old business whose sense of purpose and direction had become lost following its sale to a publicly listed company.

Resetting the compass

Founded in 1987, by 2001 Fitness Express was operating 14 hotel-based health clubs across the UK, employing 300 staff. Demand for its friendly and personalised gyms was growing and the business was acquired by Crown Sports. For three years, Fitness Express founders Dave Courteen and Steve Taylor adjusted to a listed company culture. However, business now felt very different and they yearned for their independence, so in 2004 they bought back the business.

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