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Fitness outlet owners have healthy interest in service

Bob and Jackie Armstrong have combined health with convenience in their business ventures.

There's their four area Subway sandwich shops, where fast food's been endorsed by a TV spokesman who lost weight while eating it. Now there's their new fitness outlet in Ellsworth's Village Shopping Center, where they'll make keeping fit a snap.

"This is a departure for us," Armstrong said Friday about the couple's move from the food to the fitness industry.

However, healthy lifestyles are common to both, he said. Moreover, their marketing experience from the eateries is beneficial in the new operation, he added.

The local fitness facility will be open to members 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, he said. They're issued a key and can work out as long as they want. Although they can pre-pay for their memberships, the normal payment schedule is month-to-month.

The 3,200 square foot facility features the newest in equipment from Sybek's, one of the suppliers with which Snap Fitness contracts, Armstrong said.

"They're nice looking and functional," he said of the units.

Five treadmills are available, along with four arc machines, two of which are for full body, he said. Circuit training equipment is adjustable to accommodate individuals' joints and pivot points. Free weights and dumbbells ranging from five to 100 pounds are also on the floor.

During workouts, members using the treadmills have their heart beats measured, the owner said. They have access to five TV sets as well, outfitted with FM audio frequencies they can dial up on earphones to avoid interfering with neighboring users. Meantime, light music will be heard in the background for non-TV watchers.

Members can arrange admittance to tanning and massage rooms, too, he said. Tanning is unlimited for a monthly fee; massages will be given by the local outlet's manager, Sara Albrecht, who's a massage therapist and certified personal trainer. She and/or the Armstrongs will be on-site Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Armstrong said he learned about Snap Fitness when he stopped at a club in Hudson. The company was begun in the Twin Cities metro area approximately five years ago and has since grown to 130 locations. Thirty are presently in progress and 60 more franchises have been sold. Their original Minnesota and Wisconsin territory is now being expanded into Iowa and even as far as Louisiana.

The couple decided to open in Ellsworth because they realized residents here had to drive a distance for similar fitness clubs, he said. He checked regional traffic patterns and felt the shopping center would be an ideal spot, offering convenient parking.

The equipment was delivered Wednesday and set up by a trucking service retained by the company, he said. Local operations were to begin Monday of this week.

The owner grew up in River Falls and he and his family moved to the Beldenville vicinity 11 years ago, he said. Family members include Samantha, age 11, and Logan, 10.