Anytime Fitness coming to Moosomin

May 3, 2023, 10:33 am

Eddy and Jolene DeVries will build a new Anytime Fitness gym in Moosomin. Construction will start soon.

Anytime Fitness is planning a new gym for Moosomin. The building permit for the gym was approved by Moosomin's town council Wednesday.

The building will be constructed at 414 Main Street, between Park Avenue and Lake Avenue.

The 6,120 square foot building was designed by South Prairie Design of Moosomin.

Keller Developments of Brandon will be the contractor for the building.

Jolene and Eddy De Vries are the owners of the new business, and say they are looking forward to opening up in Moosomin.

“Ever since we opened up in Esterhazy we’ve been receiving phone calls asking us to open up a gym here,” says Eddy. “So that was back in 2016. “We had the rights in Melville but we were just struggling a little bit working with the town there, so we moved it to here.

“I was actually shopping for a truck so I chatted with Murray Gray at the time when we were dealing with Melville and the town was not very welcoming and accommodating. Murray just laid it on the line and was like ‘whatever we could do to help you guys out, because we need a gym here so bad.’ In the citizen polls it was always the top three of what the town requires. So he said, ‘Whatever you guys need to do to make this happen, let us know.’

“It’s just been such a nice experience dealing with him. So then he got us hooked up with the Economic Development Committee and then took us for a tour around looking for properties. We were hoping to actually be open in 2020 and then obviously Covid hit us and stopped everything dead in its tracks. Since Covid is pretty much over, the cost increase of everything has been a bit of a delay but we’re finally on track.”

Eddy and Jolene say they have enjoyed dealing with Moosomin.

“It’s been amazing. I love Moosomin—it’s such an awesome community. Our daughter plays football here too so we drive here from Esterhazy,” says Jolene. “In the fall I’m usually here three to five days a week depending on games and we start football this week again.

“Moosomin is an amazing town and we just can’t wait to open here.”

The Moosomin location will be their third location as they also own Anytime Fitness locations in Esterhazy and Yorkton.

“We find the Anytime Model fits very nicely in the smaller towns,” says Jolene. “If I was in a big city I probably would do something a little different or we’d have to go way bigger, but this model just fits nice for small towns because it has a real community feel and we’re not scary. People walk into a gym sometimes and they get scared, and you don’t get that feeling walking into ours. It’s not dingy and dark. It’s bright and we always have staff there who are there to help, so I think it’s a different feel for a lot of people. In the smaller communities, whether it’s younger people or older people, women or men, we service anybody.”

“The Anytime Model is a very inclusive environment,” adds Eddy. “You’re not going to get a whole lot of the super, heavy-dedicated lifters that are going to be intimidating towards new users, but it doesn’t exclude them from that either. You could have people who are lifting super heavy and then we could be running a session with some older ladies as well too. Everybody just gets along and that’s the model that we’re aiming for—to have something that fits everyone.”

“It’s basically personal training in either a small group or a personal training format,” says Jolene. “So the group training format will generally take 10-12 people in a session, but it’s more personal training done in a large group format. So it’s not you following along with an instructor at the front because that’s a class. You’re actually being coached through it and they’re watching what you’re doing and adjusting the movement. For example, in the session I could have someone that is six weeks off of knee surgery, I could have someone that’s had a hip replacement and I could have someone that is an athlete in that same session. The movements will look a little bit different for each of them so that they’re working at their own level but we can accommodate them all in that session versus a class. So I can accommodate somebody at a really base foundational level, coming off of injury or surgery, all the way up to an athlete in the same session.

“A class generally denotes that everyone is doing the same movement regardless and there’s no personalization there. We definitely try and personalize everything and we do a movement screen on everybody too before they’re going into those sessions, so we know where they may struggle with certain movements and where their weak links are, so we can help them move better. The big thing is that we want people aging with better quality of life.”

The building in Moosomin will be just over 6,000 square feet.

“Esterhazy is 5,800 square feet and it’s a nice size for the size of community that is there,” says Eddy. “Moosomin is slightly bigger than Esterhazy. In Yorkton we have 7,600 feet. No matter how big the gym is it always seems like it’s too small, but that’s like anything else in life. So it’s just a nice, usable space so that you can stretch everything out and you’re not feeling too crowded. I think it’ll be just right and we’ve had about six years worth of experience learning what works and how to position things. It’ll be awesome.”

The plan is to hopefully have the gym opened by this fall.

“As soon as the frost is out of the ground they’ll be breaking ground so we should be open, cross our fingers, in September or October,” says Jolene.

The couple say that people in the Moosomin area are excited about the new gym.

“People are super excited. Literally we field dozens of calls a week or emails from people asking. So people are waiting and they’re super excited,” says Jolene.

“I honestly feel bad because we’ve been saying that we’re coming since 2020 and it’s been a long wait for them too, not only us. So I’m excited for them to finally get to see what we do,” adds Eddy.

“Construction and cost just didn’t cooperate. Basically since Covid the cost of building has gone up—it’s costing us almost double. Then the equipment itself that we’re purchasing is easily 30 per cent more so you have to go back to the drawing board and recalculate a lot in the meantime.”

The gym will likely employee around five to six people.

Eddy says the Anytime Fitness model prides itself on cleanliness and safety in its models.

“One of the things that we always get praised on is our cleanliness and for me, you could have the greatest gym in the world and if it’s not clean, it turns off a lot of people,” says Eddy. “So for us we strive on a clean, warm and welcoming facility. As well the Anytime Model really highlights safety and security. It is a members only facility so everybody has to scan the key fob to get in the door, you can leave your valuables in the cubbies and nobody is ever going to steal them and every person is a registered member so you never have to worry about someone coming in and rifling through your stuff.
“Depending on our layout there are 16-18 security cameras that go in so we can monitor everything. So if something happens and people switch shoes we can look at the cameras and find that. So the security is really high. The other thing I think that makes us a little different is that community feel too and when you walk in it’s just clean, it’s bright, and it’s not dark.

“It’s just got a nice feel to it and that’s what I felt before we opened our first. We were walking through other gyms to see what we like about certain gyms and certain franchises and the Anytime Model caught my eye because of that.”

“The other thing from the success standpoint too is that the equipment that we buy is basically top of the line equipment,” says Jolene. “There isn’t anything at a higher level that you could buy and it’s always maintained. So you’re never going to see stuff broken and if we have a slice in a seat, it is going to be fixed immediately, so you’re never going to see duct tape on a seat because some of the vinyl was wrecked—we don’t accept that.

“That adds to the user experience to make sure that they’re feeling that they’re in a quality gym.”
“Another nice thing about the Anytime Model too is that once you’re a member of one Anytime Fitness, you’re a member of all of them,” says Eddy. “There’s 5,300 Anytimes in the entire world and once you’re a member of one, you can use all of them for no additional charge, which is a great feature for someone who’s travelling a lot. They could be in Winnipeg one weekend and then work in Vancouver the next. They can fly to Europe or Asia and use all of the clubs there and there’s no additional charge for that feature. You literally just scan your key at the door and it opens up any of them.”

So what have been the challenges for getting to this point?

“Covid obviously put a real damper on things and all gyms took a pretty big hit with 40 per cent of our industry closed permanently,” says Jolene. “ Then we saw, even from a banking perspective, banks now consider our industry high risk so that’s been a bit of a challenge. It just took time and it’s been a long time coming.”

The De Vries’ say since Covid, opening a new gym can be a risk but they think it’s worth it in Moosomin.
“I think number one for here is that the town is growing. If you look at the expansion of the airport, expansion of the services here, for us being one of the first gyms coming into here was important and we think that it’s a good fit for the community. Our health and fitness is super important and our health system right now needs to change a little bit with things that are more physical activity and nutrition as part of health care and we think it’s important to get it to every community.”

“We’re the first line of defense,” says Eddy. “If someone has high blood pressure or Type 2 Diabetes, you battle it in the gym first. Gym and food. So we’ve been chatting with people and obviously that’s a huge part of life that we need to make sure people are incorporating and the people here have been so warm and welcoming. It made a nice fit to come here, and we live in Esterhazy so it’s not too far away. Dealing with all of the people here, and as soon as we started chatting with Murray and seeing the community, we instantly wanted to come to Moosomin.”

What do the De Vries enjoy about running gyms?

“I like the training so I do all of the training and nutrition coaching and all of that,” says Jolene. “I like seeing a huge difference if we can get people moving better, off of their diabetes medication, or off of insulin from the health standpoint, it’s super, super rewarding. If you look at the industry now, what we see from the marketing perspective, everyone sees the body builders. That’s less than two per cent of the population that does that. It’s the people coming in that can’t go for a bike ride with their kid and we get them to the point where we can get them to the park to play, or get off of their medication. That’s the important stuff.

“It’s the success stories,” says Eddy. “Seeing people come in and they’re really shy and super nervous, obviously they have some weight to lose, or other goals that they want to try and accomplish and seeing them succeed in that is so rewarding. Their self esteem comes up. They’ve shed that 25 pounds and they’re more active, they’re more energetic, they’ve got this charisma about them that they didn’t have before. That’s the rewarding part—seeing the successes of people. Lots of times when they come in they don’t believe in themselves and they require a little support and nudging along the way and afterwards they start seeing those goals achieved and they’re off to the races.”