Humboldt has its fair share of fitness centres, but for Ashley and Scott Brockman, their community was missing something: a 24-hour gym that could fit everyone’s health goals and needs. If other entrepreneurs could start their own gyms and host fitness classes, why not them, says Ashley.
“I really didn't have that big, strong entrepreneurial push until I was in a community that I felt needed something like that.”
In January 2018, Ashley and Scott opened their own branch of the Anytime Fitness franchise. From trainers and class instructors to their awesome office manager, Ashley and Scott have created a strong team for themselves, all with the goal of addressing the fitness needs of Humboldt and area. Purchasing a franchise that has a strong business model to guide them has made things a lot easier, says Ashley, especially since they both have jobs outside the business.
“We knew this was a service we wanted to bring to Humboldt, that we would benefit ourselves using it too, personally, but could also run smoothly without us being involved in the day-to-day operations and that we can hire great staff that would be able to keep it running smoothly.”
Opening any business can be nerve-racking, but during a pre-sale event, 163 people signed up to be part of Anytime Fitness Humboldt long before the new gym existed. That was a huge boost of confidence that people were willing to get behind them and creating that foundation of members was the first goal of their new business. The strength of their members defines their success, Ashley says.
“We were doing something right in the sense that we were hitting that market that was feeling neglected. They were sitting there waiting for something like this to come about [and] they were putting enough trust in us to buy a membership before our doors were open.”
The member’s experience at the gym is what keeps people coming in. Opening their doors in January meant they could catch the people making healthy resolutions for the new year, but there is a lull there when those resolutions start to slip. Keeping people motivated and engaged can be tough, which is why the focus is on the experience of the clients, says Ashley.
“We're not all about big muscles, getting super skinny, doing anything like that. Our main focus is just staying active, being active, and making healthier choices. ‘Making Healthy Happen’ is the Anytime Fitness motto.”
While new members are always welcome to join the Anytime Fitness community, says Ashley, maintaining member relationships is always going to be a focus of Ashley and Scott’s business model. The biggest part of that is listening to their members about their fitness needs.
“We brought it here because we felt like it was something that the community needed. And now [the members are] the ones that keep it going and keep it thriving.”
Sagehill Community Futures is also part of the Anytime Fitness family, says Ashley. With Sagehill, they were able to make that investment into owning their building instead of turning to a lease. With Sagehill’s financial assistance and expertise, Ashley and Scott were also able to keep their business for themselves.
“I'm very grateful to be able to keep it to just us owning it and not having to have other partners and letting us go on our own and figure that out. And the good, the bad, the ugly, it's at least just been us two that have been able to battle through it.”
For anyone looking to start their own business, it is all about doing the homework, says Ashley. They need to find out what makes sense to them, plan for obstacles, and know their target market, and that takes sitting down and putting in the work.