Originally Published: October 6, 2013 6:01 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Visitors to the Frontier Village shopping center on Highway 69 will be able to work out in addition to seeing a movie, eating at a restaurant, getting a haircut or obtaining other services.
Frontier Village will soon become home to what the owners of Planet Fitness describe as becoming the largest fitness center in the quad-city area at 22,000 square feet. The typical gym covers 8,000 square feet, said Brandon Thomas, who shares ownership with parents Steve and Marianne and brother, Evan.
Brandon said he chose Prescott for their second Planet Fitness because he loves the community and "feel people in our area will love what we have to offer." They opened a franchise in Yuma longer than a year ago.
While the Thomases do not plan to open Planet Fitness until the last week of this month or first week in November, they are already selling pre-memberships.
Brandon said the owners worked for three years to secure a lease, with remodeling of Suite 112 beginning four months ago. They signed a 10-year lease with the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe, which owns the shopping center.
Planet Fitness will benefit Frontier Village "because it has the reputation of drawing people to their fitness center, which is high quality," said Donald Teel, commercial real estate manager for the tribe. "They are a traffic generator," Teel said. "They are a highly recognized general brand."
Ashley Cunningham, a stylist next door to Planet Fitness at Cost Cutters, concurred, saying, "I think it is going to help: more traffic and more business for everybody."
Planet Fitness will not cater to body builders and power lifters, Brandon said. He added most of the customers are first-time gym users.
They will use the gym to achieve goals such as weight loss, reducing the risk of becoming diabetic, building bone density and increasing their energy levels.
When it opens, Planet Fitness will feature more than 100 pieces of cardio equipment, Brandon said.
"We have lots of very friendly, weight-resistant machines," he said.
The gym will have treadmills, elliptical machines (for pulling), three hydro-massage beds and two massage chairs, Brandon said. It will have changing areas and showers, with customers gaining free access to lockers whenever they visit.
Customers also may take classes at no additional cost from Brandon and two others who are nationally certified trainers, he said.
Planet Fitness will be open at all hours, with at least two staffers on duty, he said. Potential members do not have to commit to a given time frame, such as a year, and there are no cancellation fees.
"People see the place," he said. "They get excited with what we have to offer. The big thing about us is our atmosphere here. We create a very comfortable, non-intimidating environment."
Brandon, 30, said he earned bachelor's degrees in psychology and business at the State University of New York in his hometown of Genesio. He also served three years with the Peace Corps in Romania.
Brandon said he enjoyed providing community service during his stint with the Peace Corps, and sees Planet Fitness as community service as well. He moved to Prescott six months ago from Yuma.
"Here we get to serve the community," he said. "We do it through paying taxes and creating jobs."
Planet Fitness opened a temporary sales office at Suite 104 at Frontier Village, 1841 E. Highway 69. It will close the office once the gym opens.
Follow reporter Ken Hedler on Twitter @KenHedlines