New Partnership Gives Veterans a Shot at Gym Ownership

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Anytime Fitness, in partnership with the Minnesota-based nonprofit Tee It Up for the Troops, recently launched Operation Heartfirst, a program that supports veterans who want to open their own Anytime Fitness franchises. The program offers honorably discharged veterans a $125,000 grant and a $125,000 loan as start-up capital for the development of an Anytime Fitness Franchise.
The program also waives Anytime Fitness’s initial franchise fee and ongoing royalty payments. It allows selected franchisees the opportunity to determine the precise location of their gyms.
“Operation Heartfirst is an innovative program in which all involved parties win,” said Eric Willin, COO, of EZFacility, a gym management software developer in Woodbury, New York. “It’s unconscionable that the unemployment rate for military veterans is significantly higher than the national average. Offering veterans a leg up with a program like Operation Heartfirst gives them and their families stability, benefits the economy, creates more opportunities for improved health in communities, and allows Anytime Fitness to grow its brand. This is truly a program to be proud of.”
Through Operation Heartfirst, Anytime Fitness provides a grant to Tee It Up for the Troops, which oversees the selection of applicants and the management of logistics. Veterans who apply must have a passion for fitness and community engagement, Anytime Fitness has stated, and must also meet other key criteria. The selection committee will give special consideration to veterans with service-related disabilities.
The first Operation Heartfirst recipient will be selected by June 1; the first club opening under the program is expected by the end of 2015.