Anytime Fitness franchise to open Northampton store on King Street

  • Southampton resident Jeff Swanson will open his third Anytime Fitness chain in the area this fall. The new location will be located at 135 King St., the former home of Amazing.net, which closed in early 2016. The other centers are in Belchertown and Westfield. SUBMITTED PHOTO

  • Anytime Fitness franchise owner Jeff Swanson, left, with his son, Zach Swanson, who helps him manage the three gyms in the Pioneer Valley. —Submitted Photo

Monday, October 02, 2017

Northampton — If all goes according to plan, Anytime Fitness is set to join the Northampton exercise landscape at the end of this month.

However, the new 24-hour establishment will begin to sign customers up on Monday at its location at 135 King St. — in a building that’s been vacant since Amazing.net closed in early 2016 — and will continue to do so until it starts operation the week of Oct. 30.

Anytime Fitness is part of one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world, consisting of thousands of different gyms. However, the Northampton franchise’s owner, Jeff Swanson, has some distinctly local roots, and has made his business a family affair. Swanson’s son helps manage the chain of Anytime Fitness gyms he owns in Belchertown, Westfield and now Northampton.

“I’ve been in Southampton since 1994,” said Swanson, a graduate of Springfield College, who has been in the fitness business since 1987.

Swanson trained members of the Hartford Whalers hockey team early on in his career, and went on to become a manager and regional manager at a number of different fitness organizations, including working for two years as the associate executive director for the Hampshire Regional YMCA.

Swanson began looking into putting in a new gym in the Southampton area about 3½ years ago. Originally thinking of starting an independent gym, he said that he was impressed by the approach of Anytime Fitness, which mirrored his own.

Although he’d originally thought of locating a facility in Northampton, the ability to buy the Anytime Fitness in Belchertown three years ago made him put those plans on the back burner. This move was followed by the purchase of the Anytime Fitness in Westfield.

A member of the Park Commission in Southampton, Swanson spoke of the importance of investing in one’s community. He said that he hadn’t located a gym in his hometown because it didn’t have a large enough customer base to support it.

The Anytime Fitness that is set to open on King Street will have cardio machines, free weights, classes in subjects such as yoga and Zumba, and 800 square feet of “purple turf.”

“It’s a functional fitness space,” said Swanson, saying that the color of the turf matches the company’s color scheme.

The turf will also host the gym’s Base, Burn and Build group training programs.

As with other Anytime Fitness locations, all members will be evaluated by a fitness coach once they join, and be given a 30-day plan of action. Members can also train at any Anytime Fitness gym in the world.

Anytime Fitness gyms are open 24/7 all days of the year. When not staffed, members can access the gyms via a key fob. However, there will be a number of different security measures in place in the Northampton facility, including 16 different security cameras and a motion sensor that goes off if a second person, or even a large duffel bag, goes in after a member.

There are also buttons that people can wear and press if they are in distress, as well as distress buttons on the wall. However, the worst that Swanson said that he’s had to deal with at his other two gyms are kids trying to sneak their friends in.

The area manager for Swanson’s gyms is his son Zach.

“It’s great,” said Swanson, on working with his son, who he says he treats like any other employee.

The first 100 people who sign up at Anytime Fitness in Northampton will get the charter member price of $34.95 a month, and Swanson said that more than 200 people have already preregistered to sign up on the gym’s Facebook page. However, registrations will have to take place in person at the gym, beginning Monday.

Registration hours will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays for the first four months of October.

Regular membership is $39.95 a month, although teachers, active duty military, police officers and firefighters all get a discounted rate of $34.95 a month.

Swanson also noted that his gyms readily give to charity, and that each of them donates $100 a month to a program that gives one U.S. military veteran a year’s membership at an Anytime Fitness Gym.