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New franchise operation offers self-serve fitness studio

Judith Harlan

Anytime Fitness, a new franchised gym being opened by Darryl Singh and Naomi Carlson in south Reno, is the latest thing in fitness studios: It’s “self-serve fitness,” says Singh.

The target customer for an Anytime Fitness studio is a person “who wants state-ofthe- art equipment,wants to get in, do their workout, and get out,” says Singh.

There won’t be any aerobics classes, no yoga.

It’s machines, weights, and a workout.

The 24/7 franchise facility will be set up with treadmills, exercise bikes,weight machines, free weights, tanning beds, and a computerized surveillance system.

It’s one of more than 60 in the nation 38 already open and the rest in various stages of development.

The franchises are scattered across the country,with a concentration of 18 in Minnesota, the franchise home, and five in Texas.

The Reno facility will be the first in Nevada, and Singh and Carlson hold the exclusive to franchises throughout Washoe County.

Their plan is to open others in the area depending on the success of their first location.

At Anytime Fitness franchises,members access a locked fitness studio with magnetized identification cards.

Computers record their arrival. Multiple cameras keep watch over the facility and member activities, sending their images into an archive. And when members leave the building, a computer records their exit.

The surveillance cameras and computer system provide security for the customer as well as for the facility, says Singh.

“Women outnumber men at Anytime Fitness facilities,” he adds, addressing the security issue, and he gives credit to the combination of cameras and identity card-only access for helping create a secure environment.

Also,members can don a bracelet with a panic button that, if pushed, alerts emergency services.

The panic button works for either medical or police emergencies, says Singh.

Singh and Carlson, both computer software and systems consultants,were pleased, they say,with the automated facility system.

That side of the business is second nature to them.

The other side, the sales side, is new, and they have looked to the franchiser for training and materials to get their fledgling business off the ground.

They give the franchiser good reviews for sales and promotional support.

The franchiser has been good in other ways, too, they say, if not always perfectly on target.

For example, says Singh, the franchiser estimated a startup cost of $120,000,with outof- pocket maybe 25 to 33 percent of that.

“It’s been a bit more,” says Carlson,with a wry emphasis on the “bit.”

But the couple is on target to open to membership on August 14,with the facility itself opening in mid- to late September.

The gym is 2,400 square feet, not large, but will include 35 workout stations,with 10 of those being Precor cardio machines and the rest Icarian weight machines or free weights.

All of these are on their way.

Anytime Fitness, a privately held company, began offering franchises in 2002.

Founders Jeff Klinger and Chuck Runyon opened the first Anytime Fitness studio in June 2001, in Cambridge, Minn.