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Planet Fitness to Bring 'Shot of Energy' to Nittany Mall

by on December 17, 2014 6:00 AM

Have you ever wanted to exercise at the mall at 2 a.m.? Because now you can.

A new gym – Planet Fitness – opens at the Nittany Mall at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, offering area residents a new option for where and when they exercise.

Steve Kindler, one of the co-owners of several Planet Fitness gyms across Pennsylvania, says the State College location will be open and fully staffed 24 hours a day, and will remain accessible through an outside entrance even when the mall closes.

Josh Beard, a State College native and of the manager of the new gym, says everyone is welcome to join – but hardcore body builders may be disappointed.

“We don’t really cater to the heavy weight lifters,” Beard says. “We’re focused on general fitness in a judgment free zone. We want to create a non-intimidating atmosphere for our members to come work out in.”

Kindler agrees, saying that Planet Fitness caters to first-time gym users and “ordinary people.” He says creating an atmosphere where anyone can work out is his main concern.

The gym will offer a full range of services: cardiovascular equipment, free weights, tanning beds, massage chairs, full showers, even specific 30 and 12 minutes workouts for gym users on the go.

Pine Glen resident Cathy Harter is excited to get started on her new membership. Harter says she was happy to find a new gym near her job, and was impressed that her plan allows her to come work out with her husband as often as they’d like.

“I joined mostly to try to get in better shape,” Harter says. “You know, I’m starting to get older and I want to make sure that I stay healthy.”

Kindler says that they’ve received a very positive response so far, selling a couple hundred subscriptions before the location has even opened. He says continuing to recruit new members – as well as making sure current members are happy and comfortable – will be one the gym’s top priorities after it’s grand opening.

Planet Fitness is offering a special offer until Dec. 31 where new members can join for $5 down and $10 per month. You can sign up for the deal in person or online.

The gym has been under construction since October, with Kindler working to bring Planet Fitness to State College since last year. He says that State College is an excellent market, and that the mall offers a convenient location for people who live in nearby communities.

“A lot of indoor shopping malls have been declining recently, but it’s the shopping malls with fitness clubs that are still thriving,” Beard says.

Kindler says that other Planet Fitness locations can draw in as many as 1,500 people during their busiest days. If even a small fraction of those customers also do a little shopping on their way in or out, then he says Planet Fitness will “bring a shot of energy to the mall.”

“This is the first time one of my clubs has opened in a mall, but we think we have the ability to bring more business in here,” Kindler says. “This is like a working partnership with every other business here.”

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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