Matt Riley hopes he and his coworkers can help bring some new healthy lifestyles to Redford Township.
A brand-new gym, Blink Fitness, opened its doors Wednesday at 9323 Telegraph in Redford in the Redford Plaza shopping center. The decision to open a gym in the plaza was one made both on market strategies, as well as providing a boost to the region.
“When it comes to this strip center, it needed an injection of energy,” said Matt Riley, vice president of operations for the franchise group. “And we’re hoping to be a driving force when it comes to it.”
Occupying the former Ace Hardware in the shopping center, the group took several months to renovate and update the space. That came with new floors, structural upgrades and more. Construction took about 10 weeks to complete, he said, and the employees were wrapping up final touches in the days leading up to the gym’s opening.
“It really comes together pretty quickly,” Riley said.
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The gym, a franchise of a national gym launched in the New York area, is one of the first of its kind to come to Michigan: the franchise group has a location that opened earlier this year in Warren and another Blink Fitness is planned in the new Detroit Pistons facility currently under construction in the New Center neighborhood of Detroit.
The gym boasts many of the typical equipment one would find in a gym, with plenty of dumbbells, cardio equipment and workout machines, all brand-new. State-of-the-art lockers rooms are available, complete with a vending machine that can dispense products like deodorant if a patron forgets it at home.
The company operates on five pillars: staff will greet patrons and treat them all with respect; every staff member will participate in cleaning the facility; an inspired gym design made to welcome guests; colors and aesthetics to boost the mood; and their app that provides training and other types information to guests.
“We really strive to make sure people feel welcome and comfortable,” he said.
Blink Fitness began about 10 years ago on the East Coast and has gyms in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Illinois.
The gym joins a few others operating in the Redford area: Planet Fitness opened a gym at Plymouth and Inkster a few years ago, and there are several in nearby Livonia, Westland and Dearborn Heights.
Riley said the area appeared to crave some competition.
“There are some competitors in the area, so we know there’s a market for gyms,” he said. “I think, based on what we offer, we are able to provide services that I think this community is missing.”
Customers can sign up for one of three different plans: one that includes basic access to the Redford gym, the next level allows for guests to accompany users and the top level that allows for users to access any Blink Fitness gym across the country.
Those who sign up for either the mid-level or top-level membership will also receive access to the Blink Fitness app, which can provide tips and act as a digital personal trainer of sorts.
“The more information that they put in, the more it gets to know you and the more information it’s going to give back to you,” Riley said. “It’s all fitness, rejuvenation and nutrition content.”
While the gym opened Wednesday, a grand opening will take place 5-8 p.m. Sept. 26 and will feature a visit from Draymond Green, a former Michigan State basketball player who currently plays for the Golden State Warriors and a partner in the Michigan franchise. He will be available for pictures and autographs, and specials on gym memberships will also be available. Food trucks and other activities will also take place outside the gym to mark its opening.
While the three locations are currently planned for Michigan, Riley said it’s the franchise’s goal to continue expansion. He said they hope to open as many as 15 Blink Fitness facilities across Michigan in the coming years.
“We want to disrupt the industry right now and kind of expand as quickly as possible,” Riley said. “We saw a need for the gym to open.”
Contact David Veselenak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.
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