Most fitness center owners get into the business for the same basic reason: They want to help their gym members improve their fitness levels so that they can enjoy happier, healthier lives.
Brian Ricketts takes things a giant leap further. He’s not satisfied merely coaching and supporting the members of his Anytime Fitness gym in Ballenger Creek, MD. Brian is committed to bringing health and happiness to as many people in his community as possible—regardless of whether they belong to his gym or not.
“I like to think that I’m helping people,” Brian said. “I am not a [traditional] businessman, nor do I claim to know much about how to make money, but I like to think that I can make a difference in people’s lives.”
The list of ways that Brian and the staff at his gym help others in their community is extensive. Here are just a few examples:
Every Thursday night, beginning last January, Brian has invited a local chapter of Special Olympians to exercise at the gym for free. Personal trainer Kayla Barnes donates her time to coach the Olympians, devising a new workout routine and leading them through it, while gym manager Bill Blair focuses on making the Olympians, their coaches, and family members feel welcome. A few weeks ago, the Frederick County Special Olympians performed so well at the Maryland State Games that, out of gratitude for the gym’s generosity, the team surprised Brian and his staff with a plaque that reads in part: “For Helping Us Achieve the Gold.”
Boys and Girls Club
Just a few weeks ago, Brian donated $2,243 to the local Boys and Girls Club (pictured at top), matching the amount previously raised by radio announcers at a Frederick Keys minor league baseball game. “We are blessed to have a gym owner, Brian Ricketts, who is as generous as he is humble,” said Bill.
During the holiday season last year, the club hosted a canned food drive. “We waived our enrollment fee for all new members who donated six cans of food,” said Bill. “We also encouraged current members to get involved by organizing a competition between the Ballenger Creek gym and Brian’s other Anytime Fitness club in Damascus, MD. In total, we donated nearly 1,000 cans of food—and a cash donation—to the Frederick Rescue Mission.”
Before opening his first of two Anytime Fitness gyms in Maryland, Brian was a personal trainer for 18 years.
“I love helping people and I love even more seeing the changes in someone’s life after working with them on their fitness, their health and their emotions,” Brian said. “Being a trainer is really rewarding, but I wanted to help more people than just my personal clients. After researching about gyms, I learned about the support that Anytime Fitness offers and thought that [the corporate staff] would really help me with learning what I needed to be successful as an owner. If I could successfully keep the gym running, then my staff and I would be able to help more people—members and non-members alike, inside and outside the gym.”
Brian’s gym in Frederick, MD opened less than a year ago, but already it’s become almost legendary in the community. In fact, local residents are reminded frequently that the gym’s primary focus is having fun—whenever they see a group of people running around town in “Joggernots” tee-shirts.
“We organized a running club called the Joggernots after several members told us they hated running, but would like to run in a 5K race someday,” Bill said. “There are now about 20 of us—most are members of our gym, but not all. We’ve participated as a group in five races already, four of which were fundraisers. Some of the Joggernots are better runners than others, but we all have a good time whenever we’re together.”
Having fun, getting healthier, and doing good in the community. That’s what the Anytime Fitness gym in Frederick, MD is all about.
“A great staff is the key to creating the type of club culture that I visualized when I opened the gym in Frederick,” Brian said. “Helping others enjoy life to the fullest is personally very satisfying. Contributing to the larger community, as well, makes it all even sweeter.”