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Planet Fitness is coming to Smithfield

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SMITHFIELD — Planet Fitness is coming to Smithfield.

Excel Fitness Holdings, a Planet Fitness franchisee, is taking over the former OfficeMax space at 1248 N. Bright Leaf Blvd., the company confirmed last week.

“We’re excited to get to Smithfield,” said C.J. Bouchard, president of Excel Fitness, which also owns the Planet Fitness in Dunn. “It’s going to be a great place for us.”

After some changes to the building’s interior, Bouchard expects Planet Fitness to open around July 1. “We still have to demo the entire facility inside,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “There are some walls inside that we need to break down.”

Planet Fitness is unlike any other gym, said Bouchard, whose company operates 78 Planet Fitness gyms in North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. “Planet Fitness is really the only judgment-free zone,” where everyone feels accepted and respected, he said.

Some 80 percent of Americans don’t belong to a gym, Bouchard said. “Our goal is to cater to them with a clean, comfortable and non-intimidating environment,” he said.

Planet Fitness gyms are well appointed, Bouchard said. “We’ve got over a hundred pieces of cardio equipment,” he noted, along with resistance machines, 30-minute exercise routines and full-service locker rooms with showers. “There are TVs all over the facility,” he added.

A basic Planet Fitness membership costs $10 a month, Bouchard said. But for an introductory offer of $19.99 a month, a Black Card membership offers much more, he said.

“You can bring one guest per day,” Bouchard said. “You get unlimited use of the HydroMassage bed and massage chair. Unlimited tanning. You also get half-priced drinks.”

Also, Bouchard said, a Black Card membership allows access to any Planet Fitness anywhere, a plus for people who travel.

After the introductory offer of $19.99, the cost of a Black Card will be $22.99 a month.

Bouchard expects the Smithfield Planet Fitness to employ about 10 people full time and another 10 part-time.

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