A little over five years ago, Heather and Paul Del Vecchio of Bettendorf took a risk and opened their first Anytime Fitness franchise center in Silvis.
Now, they are about to open their third location, this time in Bettendorf.
Anytime Fitness is a 24-hour, co-ed fitness franchise. The Del Vecchios expect to open later this month at Quail Ridge Pointe, a new strip mall at the corner of Middle and Belmont roads, across from Lindquist Ford.
Both are graduates of Davenport West High School. Heather has a degree in journalism/mass communications and had worked in advertising and public relations. But when their first child was born, she decided to be a stay-at-home mom.
Paul was head golf pro at Pinnacle Country Club in Milan from 2000 to 2007. He is golf coach at Augustana College, Rock Island.
“I looked into it and did a lot of research,” Paul said of owning a franchise. “I had three young kids and I was working full time at the golf course and I was looking for something. I got tired of missing the kids’ sporting events.”
“My first reaction was skeptical,” Heather said. “There was nothing like that around here and I did not understand how 24-hour gym would work.”
But they forged ahead. In November 2007, they opened at 985 Avenue of the Cities, Silvis. About a month later, they opened a second fitness center at 1733 30th St., Rock Island.
Today, they have three children: Andrew, 13, a seventh grader; Sophia, 10, fourth grade; and Spencer, 8, second grade.
“We definitely had our challenges,” Heather said of going the franchise route. “We definitely had some long days and sleepless nights. But we believed in it. We understood the business model. We worked really, really hard and built up our membership base, and we were able to sleep again.”
Anytime Fitness members can work out any time of the day or night, every day of the year. They use a security-access key to enter the club, even when it is not staffed. Once inside, members have full use of state-of-the-art strength training and cardiovascular equipment. Anytime Fitness also offers 24-hour tanning and membership reciprocity among its clubs, which allows members to use any of the more than 1,000 clubs in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Heather said this is the second time there has been an Anytime Fitness franchise in Bettendorf. The first one, under different ownership, closed about a year ago.
“It is a business we can feel good about because we are setting a great example for our kids,” Heather said. “For most people, a gym needs to be part of their monthly budget. It is really helping people. People come in and say how much weight they have lost. People have thanked us and for them being able to stick to it. That is great.”