Laury Hammel founded the Longfellow Clubs in 1980, starting with one tennis club outside Boston. The Longfellow Clubs is now a group of health and sports clubs, holistic health centers, children's centers, and camps that serve 12,000 members and an additional 10,000 clients every year. The Longfellow Clubs are the 54th largest health club business in the US, and they have $16 million in revenues. Its programs include tennis classes for people with special needs, alcohol-free overnight prom parties, and discounted memberships for local town employees. Longfellow has become a recognized industry leader in innovative business practices, social responsibility, and community service.
While at the University of Utah in the sixties, Laury was active in the civil rights, peace, and environmental movements. Laury's story is that of an entrepreneur who built a business by creating innovative products that met real community needs. He rejected the prevailing way of doing business - making the single bottom line of profits paramount. Instead, he valued the relationships with all stakeholders and measured success by tracking multiple bottom lines.
The Longfellow mission: "To build a world where everyone's basic needs are met, and people experience love, happiness, and fulfillment. To create a model organization, through the development of successful health and recreation clubs, that works toward the attainment of our global vision." Laury and his staff regularly ask themselves questions such as, "Is our business doing all we can to make our world a better place?" and "What can we do to enhance the health and well-being of our community locally and globally?" Longfellow has received many awards, including the New England Socially Responsible Business Award in 1990.
In 1977, Laury founded the nation's longest running tennis program for children with special needs and the Handi-Racket Tennis Program is still going strong. Longfellow also developed a unique partnership with the Sportsmen's Tennis Club, an inner-city Boston club with a long and proud tradition of teaching children tennis and life skills. In the mid-90's Sportsmen's had fallen on hard times and was close to going out of business. In October of 1997, Longfellow signed a $1/year contract to manage the Sportsmen's Tennis Club. This partnership has become a genuine success story. When the partnership ended, five years later, Sportsmen's had grown the program from 43 children to over 500 children taking classes every week.
In 1988, Laury gathered like-minded business leaders and founded New England Businesses for Social Responsibility (NEBSR), and in 1991 he founded the national organization Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). This organization has since grown to be the major US leader in working with large corporations to improve the social and environmental responsibility of their business practices.
In 1997, Laury founded the International Symposium on Spirituality and Business which is the longest running program in North America that focuses on the relationship of spirituality and business. Hundreds of people have participated in this symposium, sharing ideas and listening to business leaders who have successfully integrated their values with the operation of their business.
In 2001, when it became apparent that local and independent businesses needed their own organization, Laury co-founded the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Boston (SBN) and the national organization called the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). Laury served as the co-chair for the first six years of BALLE's existence and in 2008 he was the chair of BALLE's International Conference held in Boston, MA. SBN has grown dramatically and is now not only leading several important programs such as the Sustainable Business Leader Program, but it is the home for several successful Local First networks in the Boston area.
Longfellow has been a community and national leader in the area of energy conservation and has raised the bar for businesses and in particular for health clubs. In 1989, working with NEBSR he created an environmental program designed for small businesses. In the 1990's Laury worked with BSR and the national group Climate Wise and expanded this program nationally. In 2008, SBN developed a partnership with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston to support businesses in becoming more sustainable through SBN's Sustainable Business Leader Program (SBLP). This program has had a major impact on the participating businesses and their community, and now other communities are participating in the program.
The Longfellow Clubs philosophy is based on the ancient concept of balance, a dynamic condition of equilibrium, proportion, and harmony. Longfellow offers programs that consciously deal with the whole person and work to fully integrate mind, body, and spirit.
Laury has been playing competitive tennis for 52 years, was a top college player, and has been ranked number one in the 45's, 50's, 55's, and 60's for a total of seven times. In 2008 he was ranked #14 in the nation in the 60's and had a big win over the #2 player in the nation and won his first silver ball in the 60's Hardcourts with his college doubles partner Gene Malin. He has coached hundreds of nationally ranked juniors over 37 years and currrently coaches a junior who in 2009 was ranked #1 in New England in the Boys' 18's and 16's simultaneously.
Laury is the owner of The Longfellow Clubs which is New England's premier indoor/outdoor tennis clubs with 24 indoor courts. He is the founder of the Handi-Racket Program, the longest running program for athlete with special needs and is past president of the Youth Tennis Foundation. Laury is a member of the New England Tennis Hall of Fame, has won many USTA New England and USPTA New England awards including the New Weld Award in 2009, and his family won the USTA Tennis Family of the Year in 2000.
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