Cathy Jett is the assistant business editor at The Free Lance-Star, and specializes in covering the area's retail scene.
Planet Fitness opens Friday in Eagle Village
Planet Fitness will honor the military and first responders when it opens at 5 a.m. Friday in Eagle Village shopping center in Fredericksburg.
Active members of all branches of U.S. military, Fredericksburg law enforcement and fire department/EMT who show identification can work out at the gym for free that day.
“It is our way of thanking those that make great sacrifices on our behalf to protect us and our freedoms,” said Brandon Sturgill, marketing director for multiple Planet Fitness locations in Virginia.
The new gym occupies an 18,000-square-foot space at the center that was formerly home to Frank’s Nursery & Crafts. University of Mary Washington Foundation CEO Jeff Rountree has said that he expects the business to draw substantial traffic to the center.
Planet Fitness is a fast-growing, privately owned company that now has about 650 locations in 47 states. The company sponsors NBC’s popular “The Biggest Loser” television show, and markets itself as a low-cost and welcoming alternative for people who don’t have as much experience at gyms.
The company provides brand-name cardio and strength-training equipment, but doesn’t try to offer some of the additional frills that its competitors have. Membership costs are significantly lower, either $10 or $19.99 per month.
The $10 rate includes unlimited use of all the gym’s exercise equipment, while the $19.99 rate allows members to use the facility’s tanning and massage beds, go to any other Planet Fitness club and bring a guest every visit.
Bill Asbell is managing member of the franchisee group that will own the Fredericksburg facility. This will be the fifth Planet Fitness location for the group, whose territory stretches from Blacksburg to Fredericksburg, and more are planned.
Asbell said his group has been interested in Fredericksburg for several years. It chose Eagle Village because of its close proximity to UMW and Mary Washington Hospital as well as a large population center. The space was also the right size, and Asbell said his group tries to find locations in grocery-anchored shopping centers.