Family fitness

Relatives open gym franchise near Westfield Vancouver

Vancouver has no shortage of gyms, so the Pax family knew they would have to set theirs apart.

On March 1, they opened an Anytime Fitness franchise across from Westfield Vancouver Mall – what will be their flagship gym, said Paul Pax. By the end of the year, Paul Pax and his brother and sister-in-law John and Tracy Pax plan to have another franchise open in Camas and another, likely in Salmon Creek, by the end of 2008.

In five years, they hope to have 10.

After three months in business, the gym has attracted 250 members – most of which are transfers from the local 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and Club Green Meadows gyms, Paul Pax said.

"It hurt us that other gyms opened in the area at the same time, but people are migrating," he said.

Sixty percent of the gym membership is women, and most are in their 40s.

Anticipating their client demographics, the Paxes were sure to consult a panel of women about nearly every aspect of the design and amenities.

The result is a comfortable, low-key atmosphere with plenty of cardio equipment, each with its own personal TV. Users are able to select exactly what they want to watch and headphones keep the ambient noise down.

"It’s not a fashion-show atmosphere or a meat market," said Pax, who proved he knows the name and vital stats of every member who walks in the door. "This is a mom-and-pop atmosphere where people like going."

Each member has a key-fob that allows them access to the gym 24 hours a day, plus any of the other 600 Anytime Fitness gyms across the country.

The Paxes dedicated the 4,400-square-foot gym to their late father, Florencio, and their mother, Nelia has an abdominal machine dedicated to her – plaque and all.

With franchise fees, start-up costs were about $100,000. The Hammer Strength and Life Fitness equipment cost $0.5 million.

Pax expects to be profitable when membership hits 350 people. The owners plan to cap membership at 1,200 members to eliminate overcrowding and wait time for equipment.

Membership starts at $21 to $45 per month for a single person with 12-, 18- and 24-month agreements. For every member referral, the referring member gets one free month added to his or agreement.

Paul Pax is a real estate agent in the local market, John Pax was in the mortgage business and Tracy Pax is a teacher in the Battle Ground School District. The gym offers discounts to teachers, fire fighters, police officers, senior citizens, military personnel and students.

Anytime Fitness

Owners Paul Pax, John and Tracy Pax

5115 N.E. 82nd Ave., Vancouver


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