New team takes over Anytime Fitness
Alexander John "A.J." Mahar and Steve Foster purchased Bennington's Anytime Fitness about two weeks ago, after former owners Jamie and Amy Carey decided to sell the facility. The Careys had owned the gym since it opened up about eight years ago, and chose to sell for personal reasons.
Mahar is a Bennington native who met Foster when the two were college roommates at Saint Joseph's College in Indiana. Both were college athletes, and said that fitness and training remain two of their biggest passions.
Mahar said that the duo had been interested in owning a business together for a number of years. Although Foster lives in Chicago, he will still be helping Mahar with operations, and visiting the gym as needed — he will focus more on planning initiatives, analysis, offerings, financial implications, and more. Mahar will be focused on the day-to-day level services.
Both owners want to continue to expand the gym's relationship with the local community and to continue to grow its history, while also making it something of their own.
"This gave us the opportunity to be able to combine our passion and to be able to help people be able to reach their goals, and to give the community that opportunity through this gym and enable them," Foster said, "and figure out what they want out of their fitness facility and be able to provide that for them."
Mahar and Foster do not plan on making changes, and they said that they do not want to jump into doing anything too quickly. Mahar said that business is working as it stands now and that feedback is positive. Members can expect minor changes, Foster said, they are primarily focused on helping members and employees transition to the new ownership. Recently, they announced the addition of a yoga class, which will begin this month.
"It's always going to be a work in progress figuring out what we want to add moving forward," Mahar said, "but as of right now it's just more or less getting our feet wet and learning how things run here day to day and taking suggestions from members, employees, and figuring out what's going to best serve the community moving forward."
They both said that they like how Anytime Fitness offers a number of different ways for people to work out, between their cardio equipment, to their number of offered classes - they said that there is a little bit of everything for everyone, which is another reason why they found owning the gym to be a good opportunity.
The accessibility of the gym was another component that helped Mahar and Foster make their decision. The gym is accessible 24 hours a day, every day, and is flexible for people's schedules; the facility is secure at all hours of the day, even when staff isn't working.
"The members and everyone here have been super welcoming to us and our team as well," Mahar said. "It just speaks to the type of people that do come in here — if you're new or a little shy and haven't been here, there's always people that are around and that can point you in the right direction."
Anytime Fitness has about 1,500 members in Bennington, Foster said.
Foster played football at Saint Joseph's College in Indiana, while Mahar played basketball. A standout player on the Mount Anthony Union High School boy's basketball team, Mahar just began his first year as the girls' basketball coach at MAU. Before that, he coached at Southern Vermont College for three years.
Mahar said that he is now a fourth-generation business owner in the community. His great-grandfather started E.P. Mahar and Son Funeral Home in 1935.
For more information about Bennington's Anytime Fitness, visit: https://www.anytimefitness.com/gyms/2246/bennington-vt-05201/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Anytime.FitnessBenningtonVT/
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