Arne Jackson (centre) stands behind general manager Frankee Bencher and wife Diana Jackson. Anytime Fitness plans to open its Sidney location on Nov. 20 (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Personal health scare inspires Sidney’s newest gym

Arne Jackson said the scare was a ‘wake-up call’

The irony is not lost on Arne Jackson, as he prepares to open up an Anytime Fitness location in what used to be a convenience store at the corner of Beacon Avenue and Resthaven Drive.

“It’s kind of funny to go from a Slurpee machine to a gym,” he says with a laugh, while surrounded by fitness machines and other equipment in various stages of being unpacked.

Jackson is shooting for a Nov. 20 opening.

He bought the franchise more than a year ago.

“So it has taken some time,” he said. “We have had issues finding property. Sidney is a very difficult place to find property. Originally, we were thinking of Sidney Crossing, which is that new development they were proposing, and then they didn’t go ahead.”

RELATED: Retail development Sidney Crossing cancelled due to construction costs

Jackson eventually reconsidered in favour of a downtown location. “I really wanted something here,” he said. “People can walk here. It was a real priority to make this a community gym.”

Jackson enters the fitness business with more than two decades as owner of the construction company Cougar Pacific Systems and a personal journey along the way. “Between my company and my [three] kids, I thought I didn’t have the time to go to the gym,” he said. “I did, but I told myself I didn’t. I haven’t been consistent with exercise except for the last six years.”

What changed was a health scare at the age of 50 that Jackson described as a “wake-up call” and inspired him to take charge.

“Some people take the doctor-pharmaceutical path, and I decided to go back to the gym,” said Jackson. “So it became a personal thing for me after a few years of being in gym in wanting to improve the lives of people in their 50s before the window closes. It was important for me to have people realize that there is an alternative.”

This focus on older people made Sidney an attractive choice as it is among the oldest communities in British Columbia, with a median age of 58. This said, the community has also been attracting a growing number of families, said Jackson. “There a lot of younger people moving to Sidney,” he said. “It is a community, where there is a mixture of both now. I want a community gym that encompasses everyone — old and young.”

Jackson’s Anytime Fitness franchise in Sidney will be one of more than 5,000 around the world. But if this figure suggests a large, faceless company, the opposite is the case, said Jackson.

“They are a real caring company, which for a large organization, I found unusual,” he said. “They do strive to make sure that their franchise owners get to know their people. It is important that we get to know our customers, our members. Everyone has a story, whether you are a fitness nut or you are brand new to the fitness game. People has a story that is dear to their heart.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lost dog reunited with family three months after going missing along Juan de Fuca trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of the Sooke rescuers

Victoria family donates 878 falafel wraps to support Beirut blast victims

Wrap and Roll pulls in $20,500 during weekend fundraiser

Reimagined campaign continues to make Vancouver Island wishes come true

#UnWinedOutside allows participants to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, local businesses

Police investigating string of break-ins at closed Saanich care home

Electronics, tools reported stolen from Mount Tolmie Hospital

Laid-off hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read