The new major fitness chain in town may be helping instead of hurting smaller local gyms

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Members of T5 CrossFit gym in Holt doing exercise moves on March 28.

Planet Fitness in Holt's parking lot packed at 9 a.m. on March 28.

Planet Fitness in Holt’s parking lot packed at 9 a.m. on March 28.

The spot in which used to be a closed down L&L Food Center supermarket is now filled with the iconic purple and yellow treadmills and exercise machines.

Planet Fitness, a fitness chain with more than 1,100 clubs nationwide, opened a branch in Holt in the Cedar Green plaza at 2380 N. Cedar St. this last October.

Holt already has a number of other gyms and fitness centers within the city, but with the arrival of the new Planet Fitness these other gyms had some big competition come into town.

“Sure Planet Fitness coming into Holt was major talk there for a while, but what we offer at T5 is a lot different,” said T5 CrossFit instructor Marni Thurston. “I think that people come to our gym for a different kind of workout and style of fitness than what you can get there.”

T5 CrossFit features CrossFit workouts taught in a class-like setting. According to Thurston T5 CrossFit hasn’t experienced any significant business loss due to the fact that their style of gym is very different than Planet Fitness’ even though they are a smaller business competing with a major franchise in the same field and in the same city.

Members of T5 CrossFit gym in Holt doing exercise moves on March 28.

Members of T5 CrossFit gym in Holt doing exercise moves on March 28.

“I don’t think that big businesses always have a negative effect on small businesses,” said Northwestern University Associate Professor of Strategy Michael Masseo. “However, a small business will almost always need to figure out a way to differentiate its product or service to tailor to the local needs if a larger competitor comes into its area.”

CrossFit, which is what T5 CrossFit gym in Holt specializes in, is a fitness regimen developed over several decades. CrossFit is constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity.

The other major gyms in Holt include CrossFit FACTA, and a Snap Fitness.

“We are open 24/7 so members can come when it is convenient for them, and we also have staff here at all hours which is different from places like Snap Fitness,” said Planet Fitness employee Brittany Gibson. “People feel safe no matter the hour, which I think is something major.”

The Holt Planet Fitness venue is staffed with 25 people, and offers a wide variety of equipment and benefits.

“I really enjoy this new gym,” said Holt Planet Fitness member Lisa Hunt. “Primarily because it’s new, clean and has a lot of equipment. There are many pieces of popular machines, like 25 treadmills for instance, so I rarely have to wait to use something.”

A Planet Fitness weight machine in the Holt branch on March 28.

A Planet Fitness weight machine in the Holt branch on March 28.

Planet Fitness costs $10 per month for the most basic membership and $19.99 per month for the black card membership which includes usage of all Planet Fitness franchises, guest privileges, tanning, massage chairs, and more.

“I chose to give Planet Fitness a try mainly because the price was very affordable so there wasn’t too much to lose if I didn’t end up using it a lot,” said Hunt. “It is even cheaper than Snap Fitness, which is another major reason I thought I’d give it a try.”

With all the benefits that come with belonging to Planet Fitness, one would think the other smaller owned gyms in the Holt area’s business would be negatively effected. But this actually is not the case.

“I’m a very small and specialized gym, and in fact Planet Fitness is inexpensive enough that a few of my clients have second memberships there as well, including myself,” said Thurston.

The Holt gym scene is showing how the classic feud between large and small businesses isn’t always the case. It actually is possible for both to coincide peacefully and with little to no harm done to the smaller business.

“Sometimes, the presence of a larger company helps to promote a product or service category—which actually helps the small business in the area as well,” said Mazzeo.

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