Membership-based businesses doing well, despite economic crunch

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - When times get tough, luxuries like memberships to the country club and health club could end up on the chopping block, as families try to keep their budgets in check.

"You have to be concerned, there's no doubt that anything could bottom out," said Burt Hill, General Manager of Pascagoula Country Club.

He says that although he's worried about his business, it hasn't lost many members lately.  In fact, he believes as families cut back on out of town travel, they'll hold on to entertainment options at home.

"People are going to pay dues and have fun somewhere.  Maybe they won't go out on a boat because gas is so high, or maybe the won't go on a vacation. So if they are already members of the club, whether here or any of the other clubs, maybe they'll continue to be members because it's a lot more expensive to travel right now."

At World Gym in Ocean Springs, membership remains strong as well.

"Now, health and fitness have become a priority for people nationwide, not just in Mississippi. Now, people see fitness as something they can afford, something that's part of their budget. So when they're doing their budgets, its just like groceries and gas," said Fitness Director Ashley Matejka.

She wasn't sure it would turn out so well.

"Of course we were thinking, 'Okay, we'll prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but really it has been the best."