Black Duck Partners Gains PF Family Members Through Workforce Development Program

For the last five years, Black Duck Partners has strengthened the PF® Judgement Free Zone® by partnering with Goodwill’s Workforce Development Program and employing the individuals who come through the program.

Goodwill’s Workforce Development Program is designed to help prepare people with disabilities to enter competitive work fields and find employment. The program works hard to offer work experience and training, evaluations of work-related skills, vocational evaluations, job readiness skills, job placement and retention services. Through their “Spread the Word to End the Word” initiative, Goodwill is partnering with schools, organizations and communities to raise awareness on the distressing effect the r-word (retard/ed) has on individuals with disabilities. By spreading the word “respect,” the initiative seeks to end the use of the r-word and show employers and the rest of the world how hard-working and driven individuals with disabilities are and that community-based employment works.

“As part of the Judgement Free Generation®, we have worked with Workforce Development Programs near all of our clubs over the last five years,” said Brice Scholz, marketing coordinator with Black Duck Partners, owned by Tim Lennon and Mike Dobrynio. “During this time, we have had hundreds of employees become part of our PF family. It is a true pleasure to be part of their growth and development while they learn the skills needed to be part of the workplace and develop the ability to have a tremendous impact on their community.”

In June 2017, Black Duck Partners’ Sioux City location hired Cari Davis through the Workforce Development Program. Davis is just one of the hundreds of individuals from the program who has made an impact in the workplace and has benefited greatly from the partnership Planet Fitness® has with Goodwill. “We have these workforce development programs in just about all of our clubs and DMAs,” said Scholz. “This is a great initiative and best practice.”

Davis lights up the gym when she comes to work. “I have never had a negative day when she’s in here,” said Scott Scholl, fitness instructor at Sioux City Planet Fitness where Davis works, in a video interview. “She’s always smiling, always in a good mood that is infectious.” Davis touches the lives of the staff and members of Planet Fitness and is showing the community how much of an impact community-based employment can make.

Due to the great partnership Planet Fitness has with Goodwill, Brice Meyer, regional manager of the Omaha area, was invited to be a guest speaker for the “Spread the Word to End the Word” initiative and spoke on behalf of Planet Fitness. Meyer touched on how great the Goodwill Workforce Development Program has been for Planet Fitness and how it has affected the Judgement Free Zone.

“We wanted to share this with hopes that it will encourage other franchisees to get involved with these programs,” said Scholz. “We strongly believe they align perfectly with Planet Fitness and would be a great initiative alongside the pro-kindness movements!”

ECP-PF Doubles the Give Back

In early November, ECP-PF provided assistance to not one but two local Boys & Girls Clubs by rebuilding and revamping the locations’ workout areas into a Mini Judgement Free Zone®.

For a combined total of 14 days, 25 Planet Fitness® staff members cleaned out the old spaces in the Rochester and Albany, New York, Boys & Girls Clubs and made room for the new equipment. PF® staff spent the two weeks repainting the walls, adding PF signage and rubber flooring and stocking the centers with new cardio and strength equipment.

“The kids were overjoyed that they now have their own judgement-free space,” said John Hrinda, division president with ECP-PF, which is owned by ECP-PF Holdings Group. “In the Albany Boys & Girls Club, we repurposed an old storage room to become their PF brand fitness room, and in the Rochester Boys & Girls Club, we rehabbed their old fitness room, which had all broken pieces of equipment, into an updated, bright and welcoming PF fitness area.”

The new fitness centers were completed with several cardio pieces, dumbbell racks and a Smith machine. Both fitness centers opened with a big celebration, which included attendance from local TV stations and press. PF trainers were also in attendance and worked out with each of the kids who came to join the celebration. Both clubs were also presented with a $1,000 check from ECP-PF.

“I was truly moved by the kid’s reaction to their new PF Judgement Free Zone,” said Hrinda. “They were so pleased that they were able to have their own place in the club to work toward their fitness goals.”

Evolution Partners Celebrates Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Club’s 10th Anniversary

Last fall, Evolution Partners’ Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Planet Fitness® location celebrated its10th anniversary.

“It’s extremely important as it speaks to the hard work and dedication put forth by all employees over the years,” said Jeff Powell, marketing manager with Evolution Partners, which is owned by Rick and Kristine Raimondo. “We are in a highly competitive market, and many gyms have tried to take our members, which has proven unsuccessful. It’s a testament to our commitment to brand loyalty and the raving fans we help create.”

Although the Cherry Hill club has successfully operated for 10 strong years, the journey was not without its share of obstacles. A remodel that recently took place proved to be one such challenge. Throughout the four-month remodel, the club stayed open to the public through inclement weather and partial closures, including locker rooms.

But, regardless of any challenges, Evolution Partners pulled through all while receiving positive feedback.

“We’re honored to serve as one of the longest tenured gyms in this highly competitive market of south Jersey,” said Powell. “Many fitness facilities have come and gone around us, but our Planet Fitness club continues to thrive. Having recently completed a million-dollar renovation, we remain committed to providing members with a state-of-the-art fitness facility and look forward to the next 10 years when we celebrate our 20th anniversary!”