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Anytime Fitness ownership changes hands

Steve Korn, left, is the new owner of Anytime Fitness in New Richmond. Korn and Josh Crawmer, right, staff the fitness facility six days a week.

When the opportunity to own a gym presented itself, Steve Korn jumped on it.

Korn, a Chippewa Falls resident, bought the Anytime Fitness in New Richmond in May.

"I always thought the perfect scenario would be to be a gym manager or owner," Korn said.

Korn started taking his health seriously about 5-6 years ago when he weighed in at 450 pounds, he said.

Since then, he's lost 185 pounds through diet and exercise.

"It's been a process," he said. "Since I started working here (in September 2009), I've lost about 90 pounds."

In May, he bought the franchise at 144 W. Third St. and went to work on changing the public's image of the gym.

"When I took over, I paid off all the old loans," he said. "We had a really bad rap a while, but we're changing that."

Korn hired Josh Crawmer as the gym's manager and between the two, the facility is staffed six days a week.

"A lot of people looked at this place as a gym that was going down the drain," Crawmer said. "Now, attitudes have changed about the place and people are proud to call it their gym."

In a season when gym memberships tend to decline, Anytime Fitness in New Richmond has been growing, Korn said.

That can be attributed to the lower membership fees and the upkeep of the facility since in changed hands.

"Cleanliness is huge," Crawmer said.

While only one new machine has been added since Korn took over, he said he plans to slowly add to the facility.

"The next step is flat screen TVs," he said.

Another unique offering is a discount on tennis lessons.

Crawmer, who has been involved in sports his entire life, is a member of the St. Croix Valley Indoor Tennis Club and offers discounted private lessons to members of Anytime Fitness.

The lessons are just another way to motivate people to be active, he said. Motivation is something Korn and Crawmer said they work hard at.

"Everybody wants to (workout and get healthy), but we're the motivation here," Crawmer said.

Motivation doesn't mean members are exposed to a boot camp-like atmosphere, Korn said.

"Josh and I are jokester-type people," he said. "We want to make it a fun place for our members."

"The atmosphere is the best way to keep our members and make it comfortable," Crawmer said.

But it's not all fun and games, Crawmer said. Being in charge of a fitness facility is a lot of work too.

"We try to work with people to show them the equipment and answer their questions," Korn said. "We're fun, but that doesn't mean we're not knowledgeable."

For Jim Davis, gym member, the ownership change has been noticeable.

"Recently it's been more clean and better managed," he said. "It seems like people are here more often, which creates a good atmosphere. Their presence is significant and it shows when they invest some time in it."

Investing time is exactly what Korn plans to do.

"I've always liked hanging out at the gym," he said, "Now it's my life."

There are more than 1,400 clubs worldwide, Korn said. With Anytime Fitness' Anywhere Club Access, members have access to each club, no matter where they live.

For more information about New Richmond's facility, visit www.anytime or call 715-246-4500.