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Fitness Buff Chris Grove To Bring First Workout Anytime to Hickory, North Carolina Amidst Global Pandemic

The Charlotte resident is set to open Workout Anytime in Hickory this September.

While most people’s first reaction to a global pandemic wouldn’t t be to open a health club, Charlotte resident Chris Grove saw an opportunity to bring a facility to an underserved community with the goal to help its members stay physically and mentally healthy during a time when they need it most. The multi-unit owner of Workout Anytime, a 24/7 fitness franchise, has been in the fitness industry throughout his entire professional career and doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon. 

Set to open his club by mid-September, Grove believes that now more than ever Americans will start putting their health first and has plans to continue to grow the brand beyond the Hickory location.

1851 Franchise: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?

Chris Grove: I’m originally from Randleman, North Carolina. As I took on new professional roles, I relocated to Asheville and Tennessee. While relocating, one thing has always remained the same: my passion for health and fitness. I started my career in the fitness industry at the age of 20. I’ve held roles such as personal trainer, sales manager and district general manager at fitness clubs like The Rush Fitness Complex and Peak Fitness prior to franchising.

1851: How did you initially find out about franchising? 

Grove: I knew a regional manager who decided to franchise his own club and saw the great success he was having. From there, I started heavily researching various franchise opportunities in the fitness industry, looking at multiple brands in the industry. When I stumbled upon Workout Anytime, I fell in love with the model. It was simple and garnered the success I was looking for. In 2014, I decided to join the business and open my own gym in Cabarrus County.

1851: Why did you choose franchising over starting your own business?

Grove: When I met with Workout Anytime CEO Steve Strickland, I immediately felt the support that I would have from a franchisee standpoint instead of taking on all the risk of operating a successful health club by myself. I was intrigued by Strickland’s goals on where he wanted to take the franchise. I saw the potential in the longevity of this opportunity to have eight to 10 clubs across North Carolina.

1851: What types of brands did you look at?

Grove: Since fitness is my thing, I only looked at health and fitness brands. I really love lending a helping hand and doing whatever it takes to help others achieve their goals.

1851: Why did you choose Workout Anytime? What excited you most about the potential?

Grove: Workout Anytime has everything you need from a club member standpoint. From the 24-hour offering, to the high-quality equipment and personal training services all at an affordable price, it really is the best option for customers. What excited me most about this opportunity was the chance for continued growth with the Workout Anytime brand.

1851: How has COVID-19 impacted your opening? What made you motivated to expand with the brand amidst a global pandemic?

Grove: Now more than ever, I believe that society is going to take their health more seriously. Talking about an upper respiratory infection, there’s truly nothing more important than working out and staying healthy. And it’s not only to benefit people physically — mental health is also important. I really just want to help people stay healthy and give them an outlet for anxiety, depression, etc. COVID-19 hasn’t really had an impact on delaying the opening, and if anything, it’s a driving factor to get the location open and ready to serve the public. The governor did issue a mandate closing health clubs, but with a doctor’s recommendation, members are still able to exercise as needed with extra precautions in place at our locations. 

1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?

Grove: I recently purchased five locations. Hickory is the first, and I am planning on opening another by the end of this year. The goal is to open two or three per year with a long term goal of opening seven to 10 clubs in North Carolina.

1851: What value do you see your business providing to Hickory?

Grove: I believe that health is going to be a huge priority from here on out. By opening this location to an underserved market, any and everyone will be able to take advantage of our club no matter what their goals are — whether it’s living better, looking better or feeling better. I also see value in providing job opportunities to the Hickory area, especially during times like these. I’m excited to bring this offering to the Hickory community and am confident that it will be well received. 

1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?

Grove: I’d encourage them to do what I did and research brands thoroughly. For anyone who’s taking a leap of faith and starting their own business, I’d advise them to consider franchising first. I’d also strongly recommend taking a look at Workout Anytime. Not only is the model simple and support from corporate tremendous, but we’ve also been fortunate to continue growing throughout a global pandemic.

1851: What do you do in your personal time?

Grove: In my free time, I love hanging out with my wife and two boys. We enjoy traveling, going to the pool and playing golf.