Logansport’s new Planet Fitness is the 20th one that Planet Fitness Baker Group has opened, and despite COVID-19 restrictions, it seems like old times to Alex Baker, the company’s CCO and part-owner.

There are COVID-19 restrictions — distancing, cleaning, switching to online for registering members.

But last year, gym couldn’t even be open.

“It feels really rewarding,” Baker said. It feels somewhat like a return to normal.

This one opened unofficially on Monday, not in the Planet Fitness Baker Group’s concentration around Indianapolis.

“Logansport was attractive to us because there’s no Planet Fitness in the area,” he said.

The nearest is Kokomo, which is owned by another franchisee.

“There’s definitely a demand for fitness here,” he said.

The gym is the first business in the Junction at Logansport, the former Logansport Mall, and it is in about 15,000 square feet of the old Sears store.

Although there’s the YMCA and other gyms, Planet Fitness markets to a different demographic — the 85 percent of the country that has never joined a gym before.

“Everyone’s going for the avid work-outters. We cater to the first time users,” said Baker. “We create a unique environment that’s comfortable.”

The motto for the philosophy is in big letters on one wall and emblazoned on the equipment: “Judgement Free Zone.”

Planet Fitness also has staffed hours that most gyms don’t, going 24 hours a day during the week and 12 hours a day during the weekend.

The week starts Monday at 5 a.m. with the place open until 5 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday and Sunday, the hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We want to be a second home to the community,” he said.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, people need fitness physically and mentally, Baker added.

The facility does practice what signs call “social fitnessing.”

Every other piece of workout equipment has that sign on it, prohibiting use (creating a required 6-foot distancing).

There are also cleaning stations around the gym, and masks are required except while working out.

Social distancing created a few challenges.

Usually, Planet Fitness registers members at an office at each franchise instead of online. The employees trained in a Hamilton branch and met each other for the first time Monday when they opened. The employees — about 15 — are all locals, including the managers.

Planet Fitness Baker Group is very locally oriented.

Baker said they like to sponsor 5K races and sports teams locally and be part of the community.

This is the 10th year the Baker family’s franchise operation has been in business.

“We never thought we’d be 10 years in and have 20 gyms,” Baker said.

Alex had majored in entrepreneurial studies in college with the intention of working in his father’s chain of pharmacies in New York.

“I always knew I’d do something in business,” he said.

His father, Robert Baker, had heard about the franchise around 2009 from one of his contacts as an entrepreneur and looked into it.

But the pharmacy business changed, and when Alex graduated, the Planet Fitness opportunity came along.

So he relocated to Indiana, where the franchise opportunities were wide open.

Although Logansport’s Planet Fitness opened for business March 1, the grand opening and ribbon cutting is set for March 30.

The business plans to have food trucks and other events that day so the community can “just celebrate all together as one big family — of course, as much as we can due to COVID,” Baker said.

There are two levels of membership, both free of time-length commitments.

Both have a $1 sign-up fee and an annual $39 membership fee, and the Classic level is $10 a month, while the Black Card level is $22.99 a month.

With both memberships, there are classes for each muscle group and cardio, unlimited for both levels.

With Black Card membership, the members can use any Planet Fitness across the country, can bring a guest each time they come and have access to tanning booths, massage chairs and hydro-massage chairs.

PLANET FITNESS

Address: 3902 E. Market St., Logansport

Phone: 574-900-1500

Website: planetfitness.com/gyms/logansport

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117

Twitter @JamesDWolfJr

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