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March 5, 2019

New gym in Warrenton offers members 24/7 access

Photos/Don Del Rosso
“The hours are better for me here,” Remington resident Mary Hackley says. “And, it’s not crowded when I come.”
Anytime Fitness
• What: 24/7 fitness club that features individual and small-group training, heart-monitoring equipment, a scale-like device that measures fat, muscle and total body water, tanning room and massage chair.

• Where: Warrenton Village Center, 251 W. Lee Highway.

• Owner: Richie Parsons of Leesburg

• Employees: 3

• Staffed:
 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Members have 24/7 access.

• Phone: 540-359-5658.

• Facebook: Click here

• Website: Click here

By the Numbers

Estimated value of Anytime Fitness’s approximately 50 pieces of equipment.

Estimated cost of remodeling gym’s 6,400-square-foot space at Warrenton Village Center .

To date, estimated number gym members.

Pieces of the fitness center equipment.

Number of security cameras in gym.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
The ambitious gym owner had no doubt Fauquier could support another fitness center.

While the Warrenton market offers a range of workout options, it specifically lacked 24/7 access to gyms, explained Richie Parsons.

“That void is huge,” said Mr. Parsons, who on Feb. 2 opened an Anytime Fitness club at Warrenton Village Center along West Lee Highway. “There aren’t any (24/7 access clubs) in the area. It’s probably the number one thing we’ve heard: People want flexibility, availability of access.”

He believes Anytime Fitness will meet that demand and then some.

Fauquier has 15 other gyms — six of them, including the Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility, in town. Bealeton also has a 24-hour fitness club.

But that doesn’t trouble him because he considers the local fitness market, like many across the country, hungry for alternatives.

Nationwide, only about 16 percent of the population belongs to gyms, Mr. Parsons said.

> Video at bottom of story

Of course, he welcomes customers who leave other gyms for his, the 34-year-old entrepreneur said.

More importantly: “We’re trying to reach for the people who are not going anywhere. We’re trying to tap into that 84 percent who never had or don’t have a membership.”

As of Monday, it had about 360 members, trainer Kristen Tuttle said.

Depending on a number of factors, membership fees vary. But the paid-in-advance “Basic,” undiscounted package costs $499 a year. Under the same sign-up terms, the “Ultimate” plan, which includes use of a range of amenities such as the tanning room and massage chair, runs $749 per year. The club offers a number of discount opportunities.

Anytime Fitness seeks to build a broad customer base, Mr. Parsons said.

“We’re trying to show them they’re like everybody else — trying to get fit,” the Leesburg resident said. “We’re trying to be the gym for everybody; it’s a big family, but everybody’s part of it.”

“We want this to be a place where people feel confident and welcomed,” Ms. Tuttle said. “So, it’s my job to make all the members be able to come in, get a good workout and be comfortable with the machines.”

That approach makes a big difference for Kelly Puffenbarger, 37, of Culpeper.

“Everybody here is very sweet,” Ms. Puffenbarger said. “It doesn’t have a clique-y feel, like some gyms.”

Together, she and her husband Scott, 41 — an agent and partner with a Warrenton-based, family-owned insurance and financial services business — try to work out about four days a week.

“The key work is ‘try’,” Ms. Puffenbarger added with a laugh.

Like her, other club members cited 24/7 access as a major factor in their decision to join Anytime Fitness.

Over the years, Remington resident Mary Hackley, 60, has belonged to a few local gyms.

Anytime Fitness’ model gives her a chance to exercise around her work schedule, said Ms. Hackley, a Fauquier Hospital physical therapy technician who visits the gym three to four times a week.

“The hours are better for me here,” she said. “And, it’s not crowded when I come.”

Members also noted they can use any of 4,000 Anytime Fitness centers — including 2,500 in the United States.

Brett Smith, 22, of Catlett, works as a drill operator for a Pennsylvania-based oil services company.

For a couple of weeks at a time, Mr. Smith puts in 12-hour shifts on projects in that state. He belongs to an Anytime Fitness in Waynesboro, Pa. When he returns to Catlett for a few days’ break from work, he plans to use the Warrenton club.

“The hours fit in perfectly,” he said. “And they have a lot of locations.”

The Warrenton club has staff onsite daily for a total 69 hours per week. Before and after hours, members use electronic fobs to access the gym.

The club’s security and safety system includes:

• 14 video cameras within the gym. The club retains video for a week.

• Four push-button devices attached to lanyards that when activated alert local law enforcement authorities of an emergency.

• A mounted push button that alerts law enforcement authorities of an emergency.

• A telephone that automatically connects to the county’s E-911 emergency response system.

The Warrenton club occupies two shopping center spaces that previously housed a hobby shop and a Radio Shack.

The 6,400-square-foot remodeling, which began in early January, cost about $300,000, Mr. Parsons said.

He will reimburse property owner Warrenton Center LLC for that expense over his 10-year lease for the space. Mr. Parsons declined to discuss the terms of that agreement.

The gym’s approximately 50 pieces of equipment cost about $400,000, he said.

Mr. Parsons bought his first franchise from Woodbury, Minn.-based Anytime Fitness in 2014.

Besides the Warrenton gym, the former political consultant owns two Anytime Fitness franchises in his home state of West Virginia and one in Pennsylvania.

In January, Mr. Parsons expects to open an Anytime Fitness at the 475-home Mintbrook mixed-use community near Bealeton. He will lease about half of a planned, 10,000-square-foot retail building there.

The building should be completed by year’s end, according to developer Russell Marks.

Bealeton's 24/7 gym — Snap Fitness — opened 10 years ago at 11083 Marsh Road.

Contact Don Del Rosso at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 540-270-0300.

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