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Partners in Life Become Partners in Franchise Ownership with Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs

Husband and wife team Ross and Blair Soto join the growing fitness club franchise and have opened a new location for the brand in Morris, Illinois.

By Luca Piacentini1851 Franchise Managing Editor
SPONSOREDUpdated 12:12PM 05/17/22

Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs, the Midwest-based fitness franchise, is celebrating the opening of their 17th location with new franchisees and local Morris residents, Blair and Ross Soto. After identifying the need for a high-quality and diverse fitness club in their small town, the Sotos decided to leverage Fitness Premier’s franchisee-friendly operations and innovative business model to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

Blair is a full-time residential real estate agent and Ross has a history of working in gyms. Both are fitness lovers, so when an opportunity came up to join the Fitness Premier system, they were immediately intrigued.

“I worked at a Powerhouse Gym right here in Morris when I was younger, stocking coolers, picking up weights and equipment,” said Ross. “I eventually became a sales manager and through that gym, I met an amazing community and learned a lot about leadership. When I visited the Fitness Premier location in Minooka, I saw how similar it was to the gym I used to run. When I learned I could become a franchisee, it all clicked and I realized this was an exciting opportunity.”

Additionally, Blair says the duo saw a gap in the Morris community for a top-notch gym with diverse programming, and she knew her real estate career would provide the flexibility needed to embark on this new endeavor as a business owner. “We wanted to bring a family-owned feel to a full-service gym,” said Blair. 

The Sotos chose Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs for several reasons, one of which was the brand’s unique approach to succeeding in small towns. The brand offers a great turnkey solution focused on markets that other fitness competitors are not focused on. The average community size near a Fitness Premier location has between 15,000-20,000 residents in a five-mile radius.

“It is no secret that Morris is a small town and the people of this community usually travel to somewhere nearby when it comes time to visit a gym with a wealth of amenities,” Blair said. “Morris just doesn’t have a franchised gym where you have programming options no matter what your week looks like. With 16 other locations, we knew Fitness Premier could fill that gap.”

As first-time business owners, Blair says they were also attracted to the in-depth level of back-end support that the Fitness Premier team offers franchisees, including help running club support, overcoming member issues, leveraging a proprietary sales system software and much more. 

“We could have gone into business with anyone, but we chose Fitness Premier because of their constant attention to detail and willingness to evolve,” said Blair. “As an owner, your ideas are heard. Their training schedule is phenomenal. They’re willing to train you because it benefits the club. They ask about your personal goals and they genuinely care about the people who join the Fitness Premier system.”

To offer the best gym experience possible for members, the Sotos will also be working with Fitness Premier Club’s operations expert, Brent Bergeson, at their club. Bergeson has worked at Fitness Premier’s Coal City location where he used his expertise in the brand’s systems to set the club up for massive success. Bergeson says he looks forward to helping the Sotos produce a profitable business and deliver a great experience to the Morris community. 

“As Fitness Premier nears the 20 unit mark, my role is to make sure that everything we do is efficient, systemized and standardized to make it easier for us to grow,” said Bergeson. “The Sotos are going to be a great addition to the Fitness Premier system and will help to continue the brand’s plans for expansion.”

Looking ahead, the Sotos say they plan to open more Fitness Premier locations and expand their portfolio. 

“Ross and I are a great team and we are passionate about opening the best gym in the Morris community,” said Blair. “We are fully confident Fitness Premier will be a great fit for Morris and we are excited to see what the future holds.”

About Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs:

Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs is a fast-growing, 17-location, group-workout gym concept that creates a community with its staff and guests. Backed by franchise executive, Jason Markowicz and his franchisee-focused corporate team, Fitness Premier differentiates itself with great people, culture, and systems compounded by a growth focus in strategic yet smaller markets where some fitness brands would not think to grow. To learn more about franchise opportunities, visit