Anchor Management Group Opens Doors to Those in Need in Wake of Hurricane Matthew

When tragedy struck in late September and early October in the form of a catastrophic hurricane, Planet Fitness® was there to help restore a little normalcy to the lives of community residents.

Hurricane Matthew blew over Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and the southeastern United States, claiming over 1,600 lives. Even more were left with damaged homes and no power.

Ten Planet Fitness clubs located throughout Georgia and South Carolina opened their facilities to the victims of Hurricane Matthew. Members and non-members alike were able to drop in for a hot shower and to use the locker room amenities which were available for up to two weeks after the storm.

“Once the storm hit and passed, we had already made the decision to open up our doors to anyone in need once we were available to do so,” said Joe Pilotte, operations manager for Anchor Management Group, which owns the 10 locations. “That was the easy choice as there were so many people without power and displaced from their homes for long periods of time.”

The Charleston Police Department used Anchor Management’s Citadel Mall Planet Fitness location as the base of operations during Hurricane Matthew.

The Charleston Police Department used Anchor Management’s Citadel Mall Planet Fitness location as the base of operations during Hurricane Matthew.

Throughout the course of the storm, the 10 Planet Fitness locations in the affected area ended up closing their clubs at various times due to evacuation orders and for the safety of members and employees. Anchor Management also helped by making Airbnb arrangements for staff members if needed.

“It was a stressful time coordinating everything in such a fluid situation,” said Pilotte. “It was a long week prior to the storm even impacting the area. Our operations team had to monitor the storm 24/7 as the path was constantly updating and changing.”

In order for everything to run as smoothly as possible in the midst of chaos, the operations team developed a pre-storm closing checklist for each club prior to closing for evacuations. Employees shut down breakers and unplugged equipment in order to prevent damage from power surges. There was also a re-opening checklist to ensure that each club was safe and could re-open as soon as possible.

As soon as the locations were open, they began making their facilities available to those in need. Pilotte estimates that an average of 20 families per location took advantage of the locker rooms and hot showers.

Anchor Management was able to keep members updated on closures and re-openings via its Constant Contact marketing system and also maintained text messaging threads for each market so that staff members could communicate amongst themselves.

Pilotte notes that the various clubs had a few electrical items damaged and a few roof leaks, but overall the clubs escaped any real catastrophe.

“We were lucky to be able to open up as quickly as we were following the storm after seeing the damage it caused throughout the South,” said Pilotte. “We received some great feedback from the community members who came in. They felt we gave them a bit of an uplift following a very stressful event. Many were without power for days so they were more than happy being able to go to work feeling clean and energized. The small amount of normalcy we were able to give went a long way.”

Aiken Fit Sponsors, Participates in 37th Annual Whiskey Road Race in South Carolina

On Nov. 12, roughly 15 members, employees and their spouses from Aiken Fit, LLC’s Planet Fitness® location joined together to participate in the Cumbee Center Whiskey Road Race. The race, which is in its 37th year, benefits the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons and includes a 2-mile, 5K and 10K race.

In addition to the team of 15 runners and walkers, Planet Fitness was also a formal sponsor of the event. PF® had six water stations set up in addition to providing 300 Planet Fitness-branded bottles of water. Participants also received a goody bag, which included a coupon for a free PF enrollment.

This was the first year Aiken Fit had sponsored the Whiskey Road Race, and participation was largely fueled by PE@PF trainer Nikki Baxley. Baxley worked as an assistant manager for the location before obtaining her training certificate, which she has had for a little over six months. Baxley started out with zero regular students for her PE@PF classes, but that number quickly grew to over 25 members who sign up on a weekly basis.


Members and employees of the Aiken, South Carolina, Planet Fitness location gathered to participate in the 37th annual Whiskey Road Race that benefits victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Baxley created such camaraderie within the group that several regulars have formed a group called the “Gym Sistas.” These ladies work out with Baxley weekly and have started a monthly Healthy Eating Friday where they each bring in a healthy dish and recipe to share with the group.

“The Gym Sista’s also try to push one another outside the club, and that’s how Planet Fitness got involved with the Whiskey Road Race,” said manager Daniel Keigans. “Everyone that took part in the race had a blast and could not wait to sign up for another event.”

Staff members created an in-club white board advertising the race, and anyone who was a PF member that signed up for the race got a free Planet Fitness Choose Kindness T-shirt.

“We’re proud of our staff who, under their own initiative, gave their time and effort to support this worthwhile cause both as volunteers and participants,” said franchisee David Rondinone. “Proceeds from the race went to the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons, a benefit which stands for everything Planet Fitness believes in.”


Anchor Management Group Opens New Savannah, Georgia, PF Location

On Oct. 26, approximately 200 people came out to a Savannah, Georgia, Planet Fitness® to celebrate the club’s grand opening. The new location, owned by Anchor Management Group, hosted a Halloween luau, which included live music, hula dancers, food vendors and prizes. Prizes included two one-year memberships, camping chairs, gym bags, tote bags and items donated from the vendors at the event.

Roughly 200 people came out for the grand opening of Anchor Management Group’s newest location in Savannah, Georgia. Festivities included live music, hula dancers, food vendors and prizes.

“I think the event really showcased what Planet Fitness is all about,” said Operations Manager Joseph Pilotte. “We are a fun, energizing, community-based product that allows people to change their lives, relax and, of course, burn some calories while reaching their goals.”

Prior to the grand opening, the club had 848 presale memberships with 95.5 percent being Black Card Members. Within a week of being open, the club had bumped its membership total up to 2,759.

“This grand opening for us was an amazing experience. We outsourced the event to a local event planner who was well connected within the community and it showed,” added Pilotte. “We believe the event created a buzz surrounding PF throughout the local business community, and it was very well received by our members who were coming in.”

Pilotte notes that there was a lot of participation with Halloween costumes, and some of the crowd favorites included King Tut, a Cubs fan and a pirate. The event promotion also encouraged attendees to bring non-perishable food items for the Second Harvest Food Bank, and approximately 100 pounds of food was donated.