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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Although Joe and Magie Longueville are not new to Anytime Fitness, they are new to Colfax.
The Longuevilles purchased Anytime Fitness from Allison Petznick earlier this year and took over operating the business June 1.
Joe and Magie live in Eagan, Minnesota. They previously owned an Anytime Fitness in Eagan for eight years.
“We love the industry, and we love fitness. The Anytime concept is great. We thought this would be a nice change of pace. Everything is more affordable here than where we were,” Joe said.
“It’s a little bit of a drive for us, but not so bad. We’re just getting used to the small-town feeling,” Magie said.
“It’s fun. It’s really quite a bit different than the gym we had last. It was suburban. Much more competition, much more fast-paced hustle and bustle. And this is different,” Joe said.
“We had nine different gyms within a three-mile radius (of their previous location), including a Lifetime Fitness,” Magie said.
“Everything from kick-boxing to karate to yoga,” Joe said.
“We had another gym that was literally (from Anytime Fitness to Bremer Bank) away,” he said.
“And everybody was giving their stuff away. This is a nice change of pace. We weren’t sure what it would be like, but we’ve come to really like it,” Magie said.
“Everyone’s been really nice and really supportive and friendly,” Joe said.
“Allison sold it on good terms. She wasn’t bitter or angry. She sold it because she was ready to move on,” Magie said.
Allison still comes and “hangs out and works out,” she noted.
Anytime Fitness has retained all of the trainers and instructors and managers.
“Everybody is still here just like before. And that’s really nice because everyone is used to all of the same trainers and instructors, and they feel comfortable with them and like them, and we don’t have to start all over again,” Magie said.
Joe says they are working on making the classes more diverse and more convenient.
“We have a list of different classes that we are thinking about doing, and I want to get a feel from people about what they want to do. Yoga seems to be a big hit, so we may want to offer the class at different times,” Magie said.
People have been asking for a karate instructor for kids, too.
“We’ve had a huge response on that. We’re thinking about doing that here in the fall and in the winter. We are looking for the right instructor,” Magie said.
The goal is to get more people into training, she said.
“And kids. We did a kids’ fitness class in the summertime,” Joe said, noting that the children’s fitness is slowing down now with sports and other school activities.
“We tried a self-defense class, and it was a great turnout,” Magie said.
Joe Longueville has a background in law enforcement.
“It’s not just the hand-to-hand (in self defense). It’s the verbal. The safety. The distance. And how you project yourself into different settings. I thought it was interesting how around here, a lot of people don’t even lock their doors at night, and people don’t lock their cars,” Joe said.
“I never leave a backpack in plain view in a locked car because things get stolen so readily,” he said.
“It’s a different mindset in a smaller community than where I worked and lived. I worked for Hennepin County, so I worked in the worst parts of Minneapolis. People were getting shot and stabbed and robbed and everything in between. There’s not much of that going on around here, which is good,” Joe said.
The women have a lot of interest in self-defense classes, “and we want to do more of a hands-on,” Magie said.
“We did a little bit of that. We did some punches and strikes. Part of training, in my opinion, is you have to feel what it’s like to get ‘hurt.’ If you’ve never been struck, you don’t know how it feels, and to be knocked down on the ground,” Joe said.
“And if you’re knocked on the ground, you want to be able to get up. Because if you’re on the ground, you’re obviously terribly vulnerable. We practice getting knocked down and then trying to get up while the attacker comes at you and trying to get up quick. It was an eye-opening experience for some people because they couldn’t get up very fast. It’s kind of a big deal to be able to do that,” Joe said.
Magie says they also want to focus more on “ageless fitness” for a group aged 55 and up.
“We have a lot of people who come in who are older, and they’re not really sure what to do. We’re trying to come up with ideas so people can come in and we can give them some ideas and some pointers and not be afraid to come in and try the equipment … We really want to push that more in the next month or two,” she said.
“We want people to come in and check it out and try it and be able to use (Anytime Fitness) as a resource,” Magie said.
The Longuevilles would like to provide fitness coaching and nutrition, too.
“Ultimately, you can work out, but if you’re not eating properly, it kind of goes out the window. That’s our overall game plan,” Joe said.
Joe and Magie are at Anytime Fitness three or four days per week, and on the days they cannot be there, Jolene Plank is on duty.
“We try to be here as much as we possibly can,” Magie said.
On the day of the interview with the Colfax Messenger, they had arrived about nine in the morning and planned to be there until six or seven o’clock at night.
“For those people who work during the week and don’t get home until five or six o’clock, they can come in an register on those nights when we’re here later,” Magie said.
“It’s always better to have a presence here. You can come and work out when we’re not here because members are given a key fob to swipe. It’s always better, in our opinion, to be here, but that can’t always be the case, of course,” Joe said.
“We’re learning the things that work and don’t work in a small town,” Magie said.
“And if something doesn’t work, we’ll go with something different. But unless we try it, we don’t know,” she said.
Anytime Fitness is planning to do the Turkey Trot again at Thanksgiving, an event that’s been held at Anytime Fitness for the last several years.
People are very straight forward about letting them know if they don’t like something, Magie said.
“It’s very nice to be part of the community,” Joe said.
“Hopefully everyone knows we’re here,” he said.
“Sometimes people come in and say, ‘Oh, we’ve seen you around town. We wondered who you were,’” Magie said.
Magie also does corporate recruiting and has been doing that for the last 12 years.
“I actually went to school to be a lawyer, but that was too many hours and too much work. I had four children. So I needed something more flexible,” Magie said.
Joe and Magie Longueville have seven children between them.
“We have to stay young and active as long as we possibly can so we can take care of them and keep up with them,” Magie said.
“We own another business that’s a recruiting firm, and we work as corporate recruiters,” she said.
“We can do that remotely from here,” Joe said.
“It’s nice to be able to work from home and set your own schedule, especially with the pickups and drop-offs of the kids from school,” Magie said.
“The kids are in sports,” Joe noted.
Between the two of them, they have three 15-year olds, which includes a set of twins.
“Three 15-year-olds with permits to drive with driver’s licenses just around the corner is a little stressful,” Magie said.
Magie’s oldest daughter just got married and has started medical school.
Joe also has a son in college.
“We have a diverse group,” Joe said.
“We’re a blended family. It’s fun. We’re a work in progress,” Magie said.
For Joe and Magie Longueville, owning a business in a small town means being part of the community.
“We really want to be part of the community, and we really want to be able to have it be a fun place where people can come to work out and get some great benefits of fitness. We are huge believers in fitness and in wellness,” Joe said.
“One of things we want people to know is not to be afraid to just come in. Talk to us. Even if you are not a member, we offer punch cards, so if someone wants to try a class, you can do that without being a member. Just use the punch card. Come in and check it out on a trial basis and see how you like it,” Magie said.
“Don’t be afraid to come in and talk to us to see what we can do to help you, whether it’s personal training or classes or your own workout. We’d love to have them come in and talk to us. And if it’s not for them, it’s not for them, because it’s not for everyone,” she said.
The Longuevilles said they also are open to suggestions.
“If you want to see something here at Anytime Fitness, let us know,” Magie said.
Once they receive multiple requests, they will start figuring out how they can offer it, she said.