New facilities change look on Square
by Paige Rentz
John Henry is working to make the Jacksonville Public Square a fitness destination in the city.

Already operating the Fit-Stop at the corner of Ladiga Street Southeast and Pelham Road, Henry is expanding across the Square to two new spaces on its west side.

For a year, what Henry calls his “full-service facility” at the Fit-Stop has offered tanning beds, cardio equipment, free weights and weight machines.

Now he plans to offer what he calls a “cardio theater” in one of his new locations and a service called “Fitness on Demand” in the other.

Henry first opened a Jacksonville gym in 1979 in a space on the west side of the square where a nail salon currently exists. Originally from Georgia, Henry said he considers Jacksonville an adult hometown of sorts and is happy to be opening new fitness facilities here. “Jacksonville has always been a special little town to me,” he said.

The two new spaces will have a slightly different feel than the current Fit-Stop and be more specialized in terms of workout. “I don’t like meshing them altogether,” he said of the uses.

Henry’s cardio theater is by design a more low-key space, Henry said. For the area which includes treadmills, recumbent bikes, elliptical machines and Precor arc machines, staff won’t blast music, allowing instead for members to use headphones to listen to personal music devices or the audio from televisions playing in front of the machines, he said.

In a separate storefront, Henry has set up a space to offer “Fitness on Demand” — a digital system that guides members through various workout routines and fitness classes via an automatic projector and screen system. Staff can schedule classes for certain times of day, which can be seen by members on an online calendar. Henry said he hopes to offer several set classes during the course of the week, but during the times that classes aren’t scheduled members can enter with an access key and choose the class they want to take. The Fitness on Demand display—a touch screen mounted on the wall — will tell the member in advance the difficulty level, needed equipment and duration of the class. Equipment such as fitness balls, hand weights and spinning bikes are provided in the space, Henry said.

Of Henry’s three facilities on the square, two are co-ed, but the Fitness on Demand space is open to women only.

A membership for the two new facilities costs $30 per month for an individual, with a $15 add-on cost each for spouses and children under 21 years of age. Henry is currently signing up members by appointment at 256-435-7269.
© 2013