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Planet Fitness opens at Merchants Crossing
May 2, 2018

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Long rows of purple Nordic trainers, treadmills and stationary bikes lined the huge new fitness center. Dumbbells were neatly stacked on the left side of the building.

Oh, and there was plenty of cake, popcorn, sandwiches and pizza to be had.

That was how they rolled last Tuesday as the new Planet Fitness location at Merchants Crossing Shopping Center held its grand opening.

Kit Kohner, manager at Planet Fitness, said the idea was to make people aware of the center and its offerings. Hopefully, they would sign up, or at least take the grand tour.

"People can come in and see what we have to offer. We're new in the area so we want everyone to see what we have here," Kohner said. "We have more than 20,000 square feet of equipment."

Kohner said they saw the opportunity to put a new fitness club in, as there were few offerings in North Fort Myers where Fitness 1440 was the only gym until now.

"We saw an opportunity for more gyms here. It seemed like there were a lot of requests for something here, and the nearest one was in Cape Coral," Kohner said.

A soft opening was held on April 15 and it didn't take long for people to sign their names to memberships. There was a pre-sale where members could sign up ahead of time, but when they opened the doors, an influx of people came in.

Between the pre-sale and the grand opening, more than 2,000 people became members, either with the classic $1 down, $10 a month membership or the Black Card $21.99 a month membership, which includes guest privileges, use of any of the 1,400 locations nationwide, tanning beds, hydro massage and more.

All members can enjoy all the machines, free weights and the 30-minute circuit training station and stretching area.

Kohner said Planet Fitness is geared toward the average person who wants to exercise in an intimidation-free, non-judgmental environment.

Planet Fitness is known for its "Lunk Alarm," which sounds off whenever a lifter grunts too loud, slams the weights, wears a tank top, anything that is, well, lunkish.

"We want it to be non-intimidating and when you see someone throwing the weights and being overly obnoxious, it can intimidate some people," Kohner said. "We've had to use it a couple times already."

Lee County Commissioner Brian Hamman was there, not as a function of his job, but as a client. He was on the treadmill in his continued quest to lose weight and saw this location as the perfect opportunity for him and the area.

"This place is amazing. It's great to see so many people come together to work out and all the purple shirts for those with new jobs, so I'm happy about that," Hamman said. "Since October I've lost 50 pounds just with my diet. But I recently hit a plateau and started working out and this seemed like a great opportunity."

Jim Reynolds, of Cape Coral, said as a senior citizen, it was time himself and his fiance, Sheila Adkins, to get in better shape.

"We talked to the folks here before they opened and liked what we heard. I love it. there are lots of machines, you get a good crowd and no wait for the machines," Reynolds said.

Planet Fitness is open 24 hours. For more information, call 237-0890.

Merchants Crossing is at 15201 N Cleveland Ave, North Fort Myers.

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