Blog Posts

Sunshine Fitness Members Reunited After One Saves the Other’s Life

In November, Sam Palacio was finishing his workout at Sunshine Fitness’s Planet Fitness location in Palm Bay, Florida, when just a few feet away Mike DuBois suffered a massive heart attack. 

Palacio jumped into action, performing CPR while the location’s manager retrieved the AED. Once the AED was no longer applicable, Palacio, a donor services team leader and phlebotomist with OneBloodagain conducted CPR until paramedics arrived.  

Sunshine Fitness certifies staff in CPR annually, along with providing AED training, for situations just like this one. “We put the safety, health and well-being of our members first,” said Lynne Knowles, assistant to the vice president of operations. “We ensure emergency personnel are called regardless of the situation to have the member checked out and to give them the option of seeking further emergency treatment. Our members come first, and we want to make sure they are safe and happy.” 

Upon arrival at the hospital, DuBois underwent surgery where it was discovered he had a 100 percent blockage of an artery to his heart. A stent was inserted to clear the blockage.  

During his recovery, Dubois began seeking out the man who had saved his life. DuBois was able to track down Palacio through his best friend who is a regular blood donor at the bloodmobile where Palacio works. In April, OneBlood brought the two men together to reconnect. 

With plans to recognize the two men this summer, Knowles said the incident embodies fully the culture and atmosphere of Sunshine Fitness and PF. “Our culture is to develop friendships and put our members first and create aatmosphere where our staff are taking care of members and our members are taking care of members,” she said. “Everyone knows each other by their first name. This is somewhere a member can come in and feel comfortable and not feel judged. It truly is the kindness and compassion of the Judgement Free Zone.” 

United PF Partners Opens Two New Locations

Earlier this year, United PF Partners added two new clubs to its portfolio, bringing its total to 124 locations across 10 states 

This spring, Kansas City, Missouri, and Rostraver Township, Pennsylvania, each welcomed a new, 18,000squarefooPlanet Fitness® club to its community complete with a grand celebration. 

On May 7, during the Kansas City grandopening celebration, city leaders, including the mayor, Congressmen and councilmen, and staff of Greater Kansas City, joined in for the ribbon cutting and a check presentation of $5,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City.  

In addition, United PF Partners held an open house event for the community on May 11. United PF Partners invited the immediate neighborhoods to participate in ainstructor-led workout or simply use the club for free that day. The open house was complete with free barbecue from Gates Bar-B-Q, kid’s activities and performances by the local Marching Cobras drill team in the parking lot. Hot 103 Jamz! pumped up the crowd and provided giveaways, including Mary J. Blige and Nas tickets, along with station-branded giveaways.  

The event was a big success and allowed us to cement ourselves as part of the community,” said Erin Tuller, senior marketing coordinator for UPF. “For this club, it was very important to leverage a relationship with a local PR firm, Phillips-West. They had a history of promoting similar business openings in the neighborhood. We wanted to be sure that we did not inadvertently alienate any of the immediate neighborhood groups, associations, chambers, etc. Phillips-West helped us determine which chambers would have the most impact for our club as well as navigate our immersion into the community. 

On April 11, during the grandopening celebration of the Rostraver Township location, United PF Partners presented a $5,000 donation to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Laurel Region and had a ribboncutting ceremony, which included representatives from the Big Brothers Big Sisters along with staff of the Greater Rostraver Chamber of Commerce.  

We focus on creating a space where everyone in the community feels accepted and respected. We were happy to partner and take part in promoting the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Laurel Region, whose values truly align with our initiatives here at Planet Fitness,” said Gary Williams, regional director of United PF Partners. “We are very excited and thankful to have been welcomed to the Rostraver community with open arms.” 

With opening new clubs comes little hiccups here and there, and United PF Partners ran into a small problem with naming the club. “Historically, the area had been known as Belle Vernon. However, the community had been wanting its own identity separate from Belle Vernon and was in the middle of lobbying the state and U.S. Postal Service to officially change the name to Rostraver Township,” said Williams. We decided to go with what our member community identified with most strongly. Welcome, PF Rostraver! 

Denver Co-op Teams Up With Denver Nuggets on Golden Opportunity

On Jan. 25, as the Denver Nuggets went head-to-head with the Phoenix Suns, the Planet Fitness Denver Co-op was ramping up for an appearance of its own. The co-op had previously entered a partnership with the NBA team to execute a Boys & Girls Club Mentorship Month and making a donation before the start of the Jan. 25 game was the perfect way to wrap up a successful campaign.

“For the Colorado Collective, it was imperative that our Nuggets Sponsorship included an element that gave back to our local Boys & Girls Club.” stated Jonny Jost a Franchisee member of the Colorado Collective.

Regional manager Kiki Mannshardt with PF corporate and Izzy Benjamin-Alvardo with Jost ADK were on site before tip-off and presented the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver with a $5,000 check.

“We could not be more grateful for our partnership with Planet Fitness,” said Ben Fiscus, donor relations manager with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver. “It is very clear that giving back is at the core of what the Denver Co-op stands for. At Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver we can confirm that when you become a member of Planet Fitness, you’re not only benefiting your own personal health and wellness, you’re also supporting your local community.”

As part of the sponsorship, Denver Nuggets ambassador and retired player Ervin Johnson also made four separate appearances prior to the game. Throughout the month of January, Johnson visited various Boys & Girls Clubs in metro Denver and spoke about the importance of creating a judgement free generation, as well as sharing some general tips on health, fitness and dedication.

“We are thrilled with how the integration manifested and how many kids genuinely are going to be a catalyst for creating a Judgement Free generation,” said Jost.

KiwiMex Sets Course for Success With Team-Building Sailing Experience

With the sea so close to its Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts locations, KiwiMex found the perfect opportunity to celebrate 10 years in 2018 with a team-building experience on the water. Owner Steve Eddleston chartered the 115-foot, 1939 restored schooner Eros for two days of sailing in the Narragansett Bay area close to Newport, Rhode Island. 

“We wanted to do something special to recognize all the hard work our management team had put in over the year and also find an event that would help us further build our team skills as we have more units to build in the coming years,” Eddleston explained. “Having been a sailor for many years and now living in Rhode Island, I came across Eros. After discussions with the ship’s owner, I learned they were planning on racing the schooner in a couple of local regattas against other classic sailboats and that they would welcome the opportunity to have my team join the crew for the event.” 

Together with the crew, KiwiMex brought general managers and regional managers from its 17 locations to the area for a team-building session full of sailing education and racing fun. The first day was spent learning about the diverse roles available to team members of all backgrounds and fitness levels. Those who took an active role were coached by professional sailors for the morning portion. After lunch, the crew took the yacht out for some racing.  

After reassembling on day two, the Planet Fitness team enjoyed a warm-up sail and a full day of racing fun. “We raced against a colorful array of beautiful boats of various ages from around the world,” Eddleston said. After the event, there was a clambake dinner with all the other boats crews where prizes were awarded for the various classes.

For Eddleston, there is an immense return on the investment to bringing his team together for one or two days each year. He’s even considering returning to Eros for this year’s event. “Team members are still talking about the experience, telling me how much they learned about communications, teamwork, being aware of the environment – the ship with all its equipment and maintenance like the gym, the competitive setting of the race with other vessels, and the camaraderie that comes from working together in a setting away from the job,” he said. “Many said they formed relationships with other managers from distant locations they would never have built day-to-day at the gym.” 

That sense of team is what makes activities such as the sailing experience so important to KiwiMex and Eddleston. “As far as I am concerned, the value of our brand is held every day by our gym teams who are face to face with our members,” Eddleston said. I believe taking the time out on a regular basis, be it summer parties, holiday events, conferences, etc., makes our people feel valued and recognized for all their contributions by ownership. 

National Fitness Partners Honored at Local EMS Awards Ceremony

On Dec. 12, team members from National Fitness Partners’ Statesville, North Carolina, location were recognized during the first annual ICEMS Awards Ceremony.

Recipients for the awards were selected by their Iredell County peers for their emergency medical services, and Planet Fitness team members were recognized for their heroic efforts on two separate occasions.

In June of 2018, a member was working out at the Statesville PF when he fell off the stair climber due to cardiac arrest. Club manager Chris Seddon began CPR and utilized the AED before EMS arrived. In September of the same year, a custodian noticed an unconscious member in the free weight area and notified team members immediately. Seddon began performing CPR while several other team members prepared an AED machine for operation. Once shocks were emitted, the member regained consciousness before EMS arrived at the club.

“It’s extremely important to be properly trained to handle these types of emergencies,” said Seddon. “It makes the difference in whether someone lives or dies. Having that knowledge speaks highly of the facility and makes people feel comfortable going to a facility that they know has the CPR/AED qualifications.”

National Fitness Partners requires all new hires to be trained in CPR/AED within their first month on the job. Once team members have been certified, they are required to reinstate their certification every two years.

“It felt amazing to be recognized for our efforts,” said Seddon. “There was a standing ovation when PF employees were recognized, as we were the only civilians that were honored for the award. The team is very proud of this honor and feels very appreciated.”

Since the September incident, the member continues to come and work out at Planet Fitness and has even taken Seddon and the rest of the staff out for lunch to thank them for saving his life.

“Having the opportunity to save peoples’ lives through CPR certification makes working for PF an amazing career opportunity,” said Seddon. “Not just changing lives but also saving them when you are called to duty.”

The community of Iredell County made sure to show their appreciation for Planet Fitness team members and their impact on the community.

“I was able to attend the banquet with the Statesville Planet Fitness Staff,” said regional manager Jonah Brooks. “The PF crew received a standing ovation from a room of 200 brave men and women in attendance which included state representatives, EMS, firefighters, law enforcement, etc. This was a moment that gave me chills and was a very emotional. The director over the event spoke very highly or Planet Fitness and the actions that were taken on the days of the incident. Truly incredible!”