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Atlanta-based Workout Anytime plans to open facilities in Bradenton

MANATEE -- Bradenton-area residents looking for all-day, every-day gym availability will soon have another facility to choose from.

Workout Anytime, an Atlanta-based franchise, has submitted letters of intent to three different area landlords and has a franchisee "ready to go," said Randy Trotter, vice president of development for Workout Anytime Randy. He would not disclose any locations because negotiations have not started, but he said the company tries to find real estate in shopping centers with a strong anchor.

"We're in a lot of Publix-anchored shopping centers," Trotter said. Members "can get in and get out and don't have to go to a big box area with all of the traffic. The number one reason people join a facility is convenience."

Closed Blockbuster video rental stores are desirable locations for Workout Anytime gyms, as well, because they provide the right location, tenant mix, visibility and ease of access, Trotter said.

Other 24-hour fitness facilities in Bradenton include Snap Fitness and Anytime Fitness. Staffed hours are limited to the daytime in 24/7 gyms, but members receive access keys to use during the times when staff are

not present.

Workout Anytime started in the suburbs of Atlanta in the late 1990s. Since then, the fitness franchise has grown to more than 50 locations in 14 states. Trotter said they recently opened locations or entered agreements to open locations in Oregon and Maine.

Bradenton's population growth and demographics make it a desirable location for new businesses, Trotter said. Between 2008 and 2013, according to the Census Bureau, more than 26,000 people moved into Manatee County.

"Bradenton absolutely hits our demographics with the population, income and age of folks that live there," Trotter said. "And we find in Florida, a bigger percentage of people work out."

The low cost, no-contract membership offered by Workout Anytime gyms makes it easy for franchisees to sell, he said.

The basic membership is $15 per month and provides access to the gym's equipment, locker room and showers. For an additional $10 per month, members can sign up for premium membership and access tanning and HydroMassage as well as use guest passes. Those with a premium membership can also take advantage of a monthly evaluation with a personal trainer and use their specialized training system, "Rapid-Eccentric-Anaerobic Strength and Core trainer" that offers a lower impact, high-intensity quad workout.

Longwood Workout Anytime franchisee Mike Boales said even though the industry is competitive, particularly in Florida, Workout Anytime offers a model that easily allows him to be successful.

"You get a value priced gym and top-of-the-line equipment and great service from the staff for $15 a month," Boales said. "You can get the same stuff at LA Fitness across the street for $40 to $45 a month."

Boales said his location employs a manager who doubles as a sales manager and two front-desk associates. All of the other employees associated with the gym are contracted personal trainers.

Trotter said Workout Anytime aims to capture "a couple thousand" memberships. The Workout Anytime model differs from others, he said, because they aim for more members at a cheaper price, while other gyms charge more and aim for a lower number of memberships.

Kevin Sollie, the Anytime Fitness franchisee in Lakewood Ranch, said they choose to sell memberships at $40 per month with no annual contract.

"We don't want to oversell our capacity," Sollie said. "If we sold memberships at $15 per month, we'd have to sell about two-and-a-half times more memberships." He said this crowds the equipment and other amenities, such as the showers, and makes it more difficult to maintain the cleanliness of the gyms.

Bob Bartz, president of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, said his organization is encouraging developers to build rental housing without workout facilities and pools because those amenities are available.

"There's a big push on millennials in general," Bartz said. "We have a big effort to try to encourage cities, counties and developers to build the type of product that millennials are seeking."

While millennials aren't the only residents who use gyms, Bartz said, they are concerned about the area's high cost of living.

Janelle O'Dea, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow her on Twitter @jayohday.

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