Gym owners unfazed by Planet Fitness coming to Keene – The Keene Sentinel


Planet Fitness’s factory look.
Planet Fitness treadmills and a 30-minute circuit area.

Planet Fitness’s factory look.
Planet Fitness treadmills and a 30-minute circuit area.
With about a eight gyms or fitness centers in Keene’s 37 square miles, the newest addition to the list doesn’t seem to be intimidating other owners and directors.
Planet Fitness, a national gym franchise, plans its grand opening at 41 Ash Brook Road on Thursday. The gym markets itself as a place for beginners and first-time gym users with slogans like “no gymtimidation” and “judgment-free zone”. Registration began in late July, and already, Shane Poirer, owner of the Keene location, said they’ve had a couple thousand members join.
“The response has been huge,” Poirer said. “Everybody’s excited that we came to the area.”
Planet Fitness has low prices comparatively. Its standard membership is $10 a month for use of its weight equipment and cardio machines, while a $19.99 Black Card membership allows for unlimited use of not just the facility, but available tanning and massage beds as well. 
Other gym proprietors and directors didn’t seem overly concerned, saying options are good for consumers and noting that they feel atmospheres that they’ve created at their gyms align with member needs and will help to protect them from membership loss.
“At the end of the day, we’re a family focused organization,” Helene Mogridge, CEO of the Keene Family YMCA, said.
Membership rates at the YMCA range from $15 a month for teens 13 to 18 years old to $80 for families of two adults and their dependents.
With day care, summer camps and after-school programs, the 200 Summit Road fitness facility, which at most has had 7,000 members, is more than just a gym, according to Mogridge. The YMCA has pools, an indoor track, basketball and racquetball courts, studios for classes and a climbing wall, among other amenities. 
Option 1 Fitness Center opened in March, at 428 Winchester St.
Said its assistant manager, Jule Brzeski “I would definitely say we cater to different clientele than (Planet Fitness) goes after.” A majority of its roughly 600 members, she noted, are aspiring bodybuilders, or have a background in bodybuilding and serious weight lifting.
Option 1 does not disclose its membership rates, according to an employee at the fitness center.
The equipment available is primarily heavy weight equipment, including free weights, kettlebells and pull-up bars, along with cardio machines such as treadmills, ellipticals and spin bikes.
Competition aside, Poirer said what’s important is that people in the community have options to make positive strides toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Poirer said people are starting to realize the gym is a place where, yes, they can lift weights and perhaps build muscle, but they can also build confidence and find social relationships.
“Society is so much more health conscious now,” Poirer said. “Everybody is realizing the benefits.”
Mogridge agreed.
“Whatever the business, there’s enough people in the community to (support) a variety of gyms,” Mogridge said. “I think if (a business) gets people to go out and exercise, it’s a great thing.”
Melissa Proulx can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or Follow her on Twitter @MProulxKS.
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