Photo by Les Stukenberg.
Originally Published: May 1, 2016 6 a.m.
The Daily Courier lists its inaugural 20 Under 40 winners today, for which readers honored 20 area entrepreneurs, managers, business owners and professionals younger than 40.
Evan Thomas has watched as his family-owned and operated business has grown from one fitness club to five.
“As we grew I took on more and more responsibilities and eventually ended up overseeing the operations of all five clubs with the help of my brother Brandon and our ops team,” Thomas said.
Evan at a glance
Operating Director for Planet Fitness (Prescott, Yuma, Apache Junction, Casa Grande, Avondale)
Education: San Diego State University - International Business (focus on Japanese and Finance)
Interests: Health/fitness, rock climbing, mountain biking, psychology and philosophy, technology, learning, hiking, martial arts, yoga, and “anything else that gets me outside enjoying the elements or spending time with good people.”
Business address: 1841 E. Highway 69, Prescott
Phone number: 315-591-7335
The business now has more than 30,000 members across the state and continues to grow along with the fitness industry.
Thomas helped open a location in Prescott within the Frontier Village in 2013.
“We felt strongly that Prescott and Prescott Valley would benefit from a fitness center that focused on creating a comfortable, non-intimidating environment,” he said. “We focus heavily on friendliness and cleanliness, providing a great customer experience.
“Based on our member feedback, we think we made the right decision.”
Thomas said he learned most of his general business skills from his father and growing up around business.
“My discipline, confidence, and perseverance come from studying Karate,” he said.
He said his technical management and sales skills were obtained through an internship with College Works Painting where he won Manager of the Year and No. 1 Sales in California.
After that he interned at an REO Real Estate Company in San Diego and co-founded an online start-up.
“My outgoing personality and thirst for knowledge is the result of a Rotary Youth Exchange Program for which I lived in Japan for one year,” Thomas said.
What has served him well is old school values with new school management style.
“I’ve found that strong eye contact, a trusting hand shake, and basic manners are declining in many customer experiences with businesses these days,” Thomas said. “I teach all my staff to connect with each person and take the time to notice them. Building strong relationships this way goes further than you would imagine.”