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Danville, Virginia, PF Gets in the Holiday Spirit by Participating in Toys for Tots

For five years, the Danville, Virginia, Planet Fitness has participated in the Marine Corps Toys for Tots, collecting toys for youth that are in need or struggle during the holidays.

After first being approached by Jr. Vice Commandant Bob Holland with the Marine Corps League five years ago, the Danville location, now owned by Michael Turner and CJ Bouchard’s Excel Fitness, has been honored to be a part of such a giving cause. The first year of participating in the toy drive was a huge success, and it continues to grow each year.

Created in 1991, the primary goal of Marine Corps Toys for Tots is, through the gift of a new toy, to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children. “Participating in the toy drive reminds me to think of others and not just providing for my family,” said Excel Fitness team member Misty Adams.

From the first week of November through the holiday season, Planet Fitness set aside three large bins for members, staff or anyone else to come by and drop toys off. The total number of wrapped toys collected was undetermined, however, all three bins were filmed to the rim with goodies for the children.

Excel Fitness has enjoyed participating in the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive and will continue to participate and make a difference in the upcoming years. “I enjoy seeing the charity side of members,” said team member Stephen Boyes.

Leon Honored With Hall of Fame Award in Hometown

Known for his contribution in his hometown area, PF Management franchisee Dave Leon was recently honored for his involvement with his third Hall of Fame award. Trustco Bank recognized Leon as one of five Hall of Fame winners as part of its Home Town Heroes 2018 selections.

Honoring individuals who demonstrate strong community involvement and work hard to make a positive change in the community, the organization said Leon’s commitment to the Rotterdam, New York, area is visible in a number of ways. “He has built businesses that have created numerous jobs throughout the Capital Region and beyond. He has organized relief efforts for victims of natural disasters by bringing his business community together. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the City Mission of Schenectady,” read a plaque presented to Leon.

Leon, who resides in the area, built and owns the retail center in Rotterdam that houses a Trustco Bank and PF Management’s headquarters, supporting the company’s clubs in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and the country of Panama, but his recent award is not Leon’s first Hall of Fame recognition. His first was in athletics for Schenectady High School, with his second – and most cherished – being his Planet Fitness Hall of Fame selection.

“It’s very humbling when you stand side by side with the best of the best. For example, Coach Pat Riley is in the Schenectady Hall of Fame, and a soldier, who paid the ultimate price for this country while saving others in battle, is in the Trustco Hall of Fame,” Leon said. “It feels especially good knowing the award is because you helped others and not for what you did for yourself.”

Giving back is something Leon learned firsthand and continues to focus on both personally and professionally. “I grew up in a very poor neighborhood, and my mom bought us secondhand clothes at the City Mission down the street,” he said. “I now serve as a trustee and board member with that Mission, which provides more than 1,500 meals per week to the less fortunate; weekend backpacks with food for children, homeless shelters and independent living centers; and job training for those who are struggling to re-enter as productive members of the community.”

Since opening his first gym in 1988 to his PF clubs, Leon has built a total of 11 in the Capital Region, and between his construction and development teams and retail operations, he has created more than 200 jobs in the area. That does not account for the employment opportunities created by his Planet Fitness locations elsewhere in the United States and in Panama, or his plans to open 18 additional clubs in Panama and Costa Rica and 14 more in the states within the next few years.

For Leon, there’s no greater purpose than helping those in need, including within the PF family, and the Trustco Hall of Fame highlighted those efforts. “This year, a young man had his college tuition paid for because, a few years back, we, as a PF family and local region, helped him when he lost his entire family in a terrible tragedy as a 15-year-old boy,” Leon said. “Three years later, he continues to work at a Planet Fitness and has a solid foundation for the future!”

Whether it’s PF’s efforts with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America or a local initiative, Leon encourages his fellow franchisees to find ways to be involved and engaged, positive leaders in the community. “At the Mission where I serve, we have a saying – as most of those who come to us come at the very weakest moments in their life – “Let your Mess be our Mission and your Mission be your Mess.”

Bravo-Fit Celebrates End of 2018 on a High Note

On Dec. 3, Bravo-Fit celebrated the grand opening of its Sherwood, Oregon, location, the group’s fifth club.

Although the club held a soft opening on Nov. 1, Bravo-Fit decided on Dec. 3, which was a pizza Monday, to host the club’s grand opening. The grand opening celebration included a ribbon cutting ceremony and a check presentation to the local Boys & Girls Club which was comprised of the club’s pre-sale start up fees. “Bravo-Fit is here to be the Boys & Girls Club’s biggest fan,” said Tanner Halton, franchisee with Bravo-Fit.

“Walking into a new club that was full of members proved yet again that a clean Judgment Free Zone™ is a welcoming and much-needed environment in the community,” said Dani Van Drew, chief admin officer with Bravo-Fit.

In attendance were members of the local Sherwood community, members of Sherwood’s local Chamber of Commerce and City Council members. “The Sherwood Planet Fitness takes pride in its community and is beyond thankful of the open arms welcome that it has received from the local residents,” said Halton.

But the grand opening of the Sherwood location was not all Bravo-Fit had up its sleeve late last year. On Nov. 11 shortly following the Sherwood location’s soft opening, Bravo-Fit team members joined together to give back to the community by sponsoring the local Give N’ Gobble Turkey Trot.

Thousands of people gathered to participate in the race and donate food to the local food pantry for the holiday, and Planet Fitness was the only sponsor to attend the event. During the event, team members were decked out in all purple and handed out scarfs, candy and Planet Fitness swag. Seven team members even participated in the race.

“The team represented what PF stands for – dedication to community, enthusiasm, optimism and a dedication to spreading happiness and wellness – as they cheered and supported the other 2,000 participants participating in the race,” said Halton. “Bravo-Fit was thrilled to support its community.”

Veteran Runs 24 Hours Straight at Local Planet Fitness

There are many ways people across the nation choose to honor veterans on Veterans Day. Some pay their respects by staying in with their families, while others go out and do something in remembrance of those who have fought for this nation. Local U.S. Army veteran Sean MacMillen decided to pay his respects by running on a treadmill at his Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Planet Fitness® for 24 hours straight.

After serving three combat tours in Afghanistan and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a long road to reintegration and recovery, MacMillen wanted to raise awareness for veterans suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse.

Following 12 years in the Army, MacMillen hit a low point in his life when he returned home only to battle PTSD and substance abuse. After remaining sober for two years before relapsing, MacMillen found running was his best bet to recovering and staying sober for good.

“I know a lot of people who have lost their lives during service,” said MacMillen in a video interview with PA Home Page. “Really, these 24 hours are nothing compared to what other people go through.”

While completing his 24-hour run, MacMillen collected donations with half of the proceeds going toward the Herren Project, a nonprofit that provides addiction recovery services for those who are on the road to recovery and strive for a better lifestyle. The rest of the money collected went to support the Lycoming County Veterans Treatment Court.

“It’s going to hurt from time to time, but I know a lot of people who have lost their lives who have served,” said MacMillen.

In order to prepare for his Veterans Day run, MacMillen ran almost of 2,000 miles. Throughout the course of his 24-hour run at National Fitness Partners’ Williamsport location, at least 40 members of the community came out to support MacMillen and run by his side. The event also included prizes and a book signing by Mat Teachey.

In total, MacMillen raised over $4,000 and ran 85 miles during the day-long event, making local veterans proud.

P-Fit Group Celebrates Grand Reopening of Plaistow Location

P-Fit Group, LLC had much to celebrate this fall as the company reopened its Plaistow, New Hampshire, Planet Fitness®. The 12,000-square-foot club underwent a complete renovation from June through September, and franchisees Steve and Elaine Doroff could not be more excited.

“Our end goal was to make Plaistow look just like a new club,” Steve Doroff said. “Many club members and the PF® corporate team who’ve seen it have commented that they cannot believe the transformation.”

Originally built in 2007, the club is located in the southeast corner of New Hampshire and needed an updated image. P-Fit Group, which operates two PF locations, wanted to specifically buildout a Black Card® Spa area, which did not exist prior to the remodel. In addition, the front desk was relocated and redesigned; all floors, walls and signs were upgraded; and the locker rooms completely overhauled.

“The remodel spanned from mid-June until mid-September, as we kept the club open and only closed for a few days the entire time,” Doroff said. “We were able to do this through an innovative approach, keeping half the men’s and women’s locker rooms open as the other half was remodeled and then switching to open the completed half while the unfinished half was completed.”

When it came time to show off the new look, P-Fit Group held a grand-reopening celebration to match the fresh new look of the club, with more than 40 special guests coming in to mark the occasion. “Our grand reopening went exceptionally well,” Doroff said. “Our ribbon cutting was performed by one of two Plaistow town officials. We had cheerleaders from one of the local middle schools, a mix of members, staff from Plaistow as well as our Amesbury club and the community present. Lastly, we were pleasantly surprised by an unexpected visit from Bill Bode, Chris Holmes and Dave Cormier from the corporate PF team.”

With the location’s new look garnering overwhelmingly positive feedback, P-Fit Group is excited about the opportunities the remodel will bring. “Members love it,” Doroff said. “Staff are extremely excited about the prospects, and everyone entering the club, including visitors from corporate PF who were familiar with the club, couldn’t believe it was the same club.”