Workout Anytime, a chain of gyms headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia, expanded to Arkansas last month, landing in Paragould because the community there is a good fit for its “high-value, low-price” model.
The gyms offer the convenience of 24/7 access, up-to-date equipment, tanning and hydromassage, all for monthly, no-contract memberships that cost $19, $29 or $39.
The corporate office chose Paragould for franchisee Howie Freeman’s gym, the first Workout Anytime in the state, because it was seen as likely to succeed there, Senior Vice President of Development Randy Trotter said.
When deciding where to open a new gym, he said, the chain looks for:
- An underserved community lacking in competition for gym memberships;
- Middle- to upper middle-class residents who are college educated;
- 25,000 people within a 10-minute drive; and
- A convenient, visible building.
Pargould met those criteria. It also satisfied Freeman’s request that the gym he owns with his wife, Cherri, be within a two-hour drive of their home in Alamo, Tennessee. Paragould is about 100 miles, or a 90-minute drive, from Alamo.
Freeman saw Workout Anytime gyms while traveling for his day job as COO at Christian Family Medicine of Ripley, Tennessee.
The couple bought into the franchise in March 2018 and opened the gym on March 14, 2019, because the corporate office’s staff struck him as organized and personable.
All franchises “have a little package that they go through,” Freeman said. Workout Anytime “seemed to spend more time going the extra mile to explain in a little more detail what you get into when you’re dealing with a franchise, and this was the first time that we had done anything with a franchise.”
Franchisees must have at least $150,000 in cash and a net worth of $500,000 or more, Trotter said. According to Workout Anytime’s website, the initial franchise fee is $35,000, and a franchisee can expect to invest $449,800-$866,000.
The average annual revenue for Workout Anytime gyms nationwide is in the high $400,000s, Trotter said. The corporate office handles training, rent negotiations, site selection, design, construction and ongoing support. It also offers new franchisees nine rent-free months plus $25 per SF for improvements.
Freeman decided to get into the fitness business because of his job operating rural health care clinics.
“I wanted to do something on the other side of the spectrum for a while, where we could get people healthier. That’s kind of how this thing came to be,” he said. “We’re taking care of them while they’re sick. We’d like to get them on the front end, too.”
For now, the gym is an investment and a side job for him and his wife, a teacher, but Freeman said he hopes it becomes more than that. They would like to do well enough with the Paragould gym to open more locations in Arkansas.
Workout Anytime Paragould employs five people and has already attracted nearly 800 members, closing in on a six-week goal of 1,000. Trotter said the average Workout Anytime has 1,900 members.
The Freemans want their gym to be profitable by the end of the year, but they don’t have a goal for revenue. Instead, the couple’s plan is to focus on doing right by the gym’s members.
“We want to make sure that we take care of the people because, we think, if we take care of the people and provide a good-quality service, the revenue will take care of itself,” Freeman said.