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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Fitness Centers Continue to Work Out Well in Area

Not all that long ago, the YMCA was the sole choice for South Mountain-area fitness enthusiasts wanting to work out in an indoor environment. But fast forward a few years and options are now plentiful, especially with the upcoming opening of LA Fitness at 24th Street and Baseline Road.

The 45,000-square-foot club is expected to open this winter and have the center’s customary assortment of cardio equipment, weights and exercises classes. The facility will also feature full-court indoor basketball, a dry sauna, a 75-foot heated indoor pool, a juice bar and a “Kids Klub” babysitting service.

The new center will be the area’s second LA Fitness – a location opened in October 2010 at 51st Avenue and Baseline Road in Laveen.

Although some might see LA Fitness as a potentially dangerous competitor for the community’s smaller fitness centers, Paul Heitzman, owner of Anytime Fitness at 32nd Street and Baseline Road, isn’t so sure.

“We appeal to two different markets,” said Heitzman, whose club has about 1,000 members. “We’re not a conventional big-box club; we’re more of a high-end boutique. We also specialize in training that’s a little more personalized and in-depth than typical big-box training.”

Heitzman also believes the focus on high membership numbers isn’t as strong at smaller clubs. Whereas larger facilities often use month-to-month plans and discounts to add members, he uses a yearly fee to attract a more particular clientele.

This selective approach means geographic location isn’t as big of a factor for Anytime Fitness members.

“We have people who live right by LA Fitnesses in Laveen and Tempe who use our club, and I’m sure there will be people who live right by our club who will go to LA Fitness,” said Heitzman, adding that his three-year-old business isn’t set up for battling with competitors on price.

Annette Yates, owner of Curves, an all-women’s gym just steps away from Anytime Fitness, is concerned about the area becoming oversaturated with fitness facilities. However, she’s confident her clientele is unique enough that the larger centers won’t have a major impact on her membership.

“I have wellness programs and deal with the ladies who are older – my biggest crowd is in the mornings with the retirees,” she said. “And I don’t think they will go to LA Fitness.”

Yates already dealt with competitors during the three years since she opened. Two other Curves locations opened and closed during that time – one in Laveen and the other in Tempe.

Now she operates the area’s only all-women’s gym.

But even with this exclusivity, Yates has some concerns because her facility remains unknown to many residents.

“I still have people who have passed here for two or three years tell me they didn’t know Curves is even here,” she said.

Last month, the Phoenix South Mountain Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center celebrated its grand opening. In addition to educational, arts and spiritual programs, the new 147,000-square-foot facility features many fitness amenities, including three multipurpose sport fields, a full-size football/soccer field, two practice boxing rings, nine volleyball courts, a walking/running track, rock climbing wall and indoor swimming pool.


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