Contributing to the communities in Boston and Atlanta where its 21 Planet Fitness® clubs are located is a value Alder Partners emphasizes daily. With the Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) also headquartered in Atlanta, franchisee Stanley DeMartinis Jr. set out to impact the organization at its home base.
Because BGCA services tens of thousands of kids, many in struggling areas of Atlanta, it was important for Alder Partners to bring the Judgement Free Zone® (JFZ) message directly to the youth through a mini JFZ. The process began by locating a facility that had space available and staff on site to safely monitor the children using the gym. Salvation Army Atlanta Peachcrest Boys & Girls Club in Decatur was the perfect recipient of the mini fitness center for more than one reason. “The fact that we were able to build a mini Judgement Free Zone in Decatur, where we opened our first Atlanta club, made it even more special,” DeMartinis explained.
After putting together plans for the space, Alder Partners went to work crafting a custom area for the youth to stay fit. Team members, vendors and partners in Atlanta donated time, materials or both to assist with the project. Robbie Ciampi, a member of maintenance and construction, was a standout asset for the franchise group. “He was onsite every day working with our construction crew, helping to ensure the project stayed on track to open on time, giving us regular updates on progress, and troubleshooting any obstacles that came up,” said DeMartinis.
“We realized how lucky we are to work with such great partners in the Atlanta market,” DeMartinis added. “We were humbled and truly appreciative of all the labor and materials that were donated on behalf of our local vendors in Atlanta. Many have been with us since our first buildout in Decatur, and they turned around and put the same effort into this project that they do for all our clubs in the market.”
When it came time to open up the mini Judgement Free Zone, Alder Partners went all out, decorating the gym in PF® colors and providing a light dinner for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The children and their parents heard from DeMartinis and the club’s director, Maj. Kelly English, during the event, which was attended by Dineen Boyle from PFHQ, Alder Partners’ FBC Cory Ouellette and Allison Porter, the Precor representative and equipment vendor for the project.
In addition, Planet Fitness partners with the Atlanta Hawks, which sent down team mascot Harry the Hawk and members of the dance team to celebrate with the youth. With the mini JFZ located directly off the BGCA’s gymnasium, Harry tried his hand at half-court shots, posed for pictures, and held dance-offs with the kids while they waited to go into the fitness area. Alder Partners’ head trainer, Deon Brown, was also on hand to provide instruction to the children on how to properly use the new equipment.
“The kids loved the mini Judgement Free Zone! They were so excited to be able to go in and check out all of the equipment, in a safe, judgement-free environment,” DeMartinis said. “They couldn’t believe we could take what was essentially a few storage closets previously and turn it into a brand-new fitness facility just for them.”
The impact of giving back serves as a constant reminder for the franchise group of the importance of projects like the mini JFZ. “Many of our team members, especially in the Atlanta market, have overcome life obstacles many of us have never seen. We want them to know that, not only are we proud to have them as employees but we are proud to celebrate their success in surpassing those challenges and showing their fellow community members how much we care about them,” DeMartinis said. “During this Mini Judgement Free Zone grand-opening event, we could feel the impact we had on the members of that Boys & Girls Club, from the children all the way up to their parents and the community partners who were onsite with us.”