Rapid City Planet Fitness owner looks to open another location after post-pandemic success

Planet Fitness Rapid City
Planet Fitness Rapid City(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 4:18 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Many gyms across the country are taking a big hit from the pandemic. And some are going out of business for good.

But Planet Fitness in Rapid City has beaten the odds. The owner is now looking for a second location.

Lifting 300 pounds is no sweat for Dan Ames. When the pandemic hit last year he was in Colorado. All the gyms shut down.

Then he moved to Rapid City in November and has been hitting the gym ever since.

“When I moved back to the Black Hills it was very refreshing to get back,” Ames said. “There is certain energy when you are around other people that are motivating you to keep with it too.”

And that’s exactly what Planet Fitness franchise owner Alex Mortensen says has been motivating gym-goers to come back.

“There is a lack of motivation at home,” Mortensen said. ”That’s where you relax and are comfortable. I think getting to the gym there is a certain degree of motivation. And community there.”

Mortensen says the location at the Rushmore Mall, now has the same amount of members it did before the pandemic hit a faster recovery here than in many other states with stricter regulations.

“Last year a lot of the younger, 18 to 34-year-olds really responded and getting back which makes sense,” Mortensen said. “Now the older folks are becoming more confident as we see the vaccines start to re-engage.”

So what is the gym’s mask policy? You must wear a mask in common areas like this one. And when you are not actively working out. When you are working out you don’t have to wear a mask. You must stay at least six feet from other gym-goers.

The gym also has several cleaning protocols in place. The location first opened in the mall in 2015.

“We just exploded out of the gate. We had to expand twice. So now we are looking for additional space because it’s such a good market,” Mortensen said.

And he says that likely means a brand new location in Rapid City.

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