Planet Fitness in Chatham makes a $5,000 donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters during the gym's grand opening, December 2, 2019. (Photo by Allanah Wills, Blackburn News)

New gym marks grand opening with donation for local youth

The newest fitness centre to open its doors in Chatham-Kent celebrated its grand opening by making a donation that will benefit youth programs in the community.

Planet Fitness held the grand opening for its location at 659 Grand Ave. W in Chatham on Monday. As part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the gym also made a $5,000 cheque presentation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chatham-Kent.

Inside Planet Fitness in Chatham. (Photo by Allanah Wills, Blackburn News)

Inside Planet Fitness in Chatham. (Photo by Allanah Wills, Blackburn News)

“We try to find the right partner in every community, whether that’s Big Brothers, Big Sisters [or] Boys and Girls Club, we want to find something that really connects us to the tissue of the community,” said Planet Fitness CEO Adam Willaeys. “We don’t really think of ourselves being in competition with the fitness base, we think of ourselves as being in competition with the couch and getting people over that fear. And a big part of that is really tying into the youth of the community right away, and let everybody know that’s what we’re here for.”

Willaeys said giving back to the local community that has supported their arrival was really important. He said the experience of bringing Planet Fitness to Chatham-Kent has been incredibly positive.

“We’re incredibly blessed… the town of Chatham has really gotten behind us so far. This has been an incredible turnout,” he said. “The community is really obviously rallying around behind us and it’s something we’re really excited about.”

The new fitness centre is now open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Willaeys said the Chatham location will be staffed at all times and features more than 100 pieces of cardio equipment and over 100 resistance machines. There are also full locker rooms, showers and changing areas for members, with additional amenities for Black Card holders, which include tanning beds, massage chairs and a hydro-massage bed.

Planet Fitness in Chatham. (Photo by Allanah Wills, Blackburn News)

Planet Fitness in Chatham. (Photo by Allanah Wills, Blackburn News)