Franchise family pushes for more gyms

A new Planet Fitness franchise opened in West Colfax.Photo by Burl Rolett.

A new Planet Fitness franchise opened in West Colfax. Photo by Burl Rolett.

A team of Denver entrepreneurs is taking another lap with a fitness franchise in Lakewood.

A new Planet Fitness opened this month in the former Save-A-Lot store at Lamar Station Plaza in West Colfax. The 21,000-square-foot gym is the second Planet Fitness for franchise co-owner Kristi Jost, who opened the Planet Fitness at 98 Wadsworth Blvd. about a year ago.

And Jost, who owns the franchise with a group of family members, isn’t stopping at two.

“When we started looking for a second location, we learned that Colfax is up-and-coming again,” she said. “Now we’re looking at a couple of certain areas and have a couple more locations in mind, we’re just working with landlords to see if we can get somewhere with negotiations.”

Jost said the family ownership group pumped about $2 million into the second gym, a little more than the cost of their first Planet Fitness. The project was funded with loans from Colorado State Bank and Trust.

Jost, whose background is in human resources, said none of the gym’s owners had experience running a fitness company before launching into Planet Fitness. Her brother, for example, works in law and accounting.

A family friend who owned an out-of-state Planet Fitness franchise introduced Jost to the company.

“It was really coming to a point that we wanted to do something together as a family for a business,” she said. “None of us had experience operating a gym, but we did have some business experience.”

Jost said the gym at Lamar Station Plaza has about 1,200 members. There are some 8,200 members at the Wadsworth Boulevard Planet Fitness.

Planet Fitness’s franchise rules allow for one gym per 75,000 residents over any given area, and Jost said her group is the only franchisee allowed to open Planet Fitness outlets within a certain part of Jefferson County.

Planet Fitness will not lack competition in an exploding Denver fitness scene. But Jost said she targets people looking for a more casual workout with memberships running from $10 to $20 a month.

“We go for the 85 percent of the market that other gyms don’t go for,” she said. “We don’t cater to the bodybuilders, or power lifting-type people.”

Maryland-based Broad Street Realty owns the West Colfax Planet Fitness location, and Broad Street brokers Forrest Bassett, Jack Buchanan and Erinn Torres handled the lease on the landlord’s behalf.

Broad Street bought Lamar Station Plaza, then named JCRS Shopping Center, last May for $8 million and announced plans to renovate the strip center and its parking lots. Since then, Broad Street has negotiated a new lease with Casa Bonita, leased the Planet Fitness space and brought the Lakewood Arts Council into a smaller storefront at the center.

Another lease with a brewery is nearly finished, Bassett said, and about 30,000 square feet of the 191,000-square-foot center is still available. Rent rates run between $14 and $20 per square foot, Bassett said, depending the tenant, building size, lease length and other factors.

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