Gym opening in Atascadero pledges to give back to community

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comNovember 22, 2013 

GIVE Fitness Health Club is slated to open in Atascadero’s Vons shopping center at 7175 El Camino Real in early January.

TONYA STRICKLAND — tstrickland@thetribunenews.com

A new, 15,000-square-foot fitness center is slated to open in Atascadero’s Vons shopping center at 7175 El Camino Real in early January.

GIVE Fitness Health Club will feature exercise equipment for cardio and weight training, fitness classes and small group fitness training. Free childcare and tanning will also be offered in all but its cheapest membership plans.

Individual memberships will range from $19.99 to $24.99 a month, with other packages for families and corporations.

The company behind the center — Working to GIVE LLC — pledges to donate 50 percent of the gym’s profits back into the Atascadero community and then reinvest the other half in the business, according to managing partner Josh Donovan.

Working to GIVE is a for-profit corporation first developed as a college project in 2005 by three master’s students at Azusa Pacific University.

One of the students, Atascadero resident Matthew Holguin, 33, has since grown the company as its chief executive officer and decided to bring it to his hometown. He paired with Donovan, a 29-year-old Atascadero native who has managed local gyms, to open the fitness center.

Donovan is also chief operating officer of Working to GIVE’s new fitness division.

The two are among a handful of Working to GIVE investors who put $1 million into the gym project. Half of that money is going to renovations of the site, including new ceilings, flooring, locker rooms and layout. The business has inked a 12-year lease for the space, Donovan said.

“Our first year will be a challenging year, but our goal is to reach a membership of 2,500 to 3,000 people (in order) to donate $100,000 to give back to Atascadero,” he added.

If the gym reaches that goal, the company would have $200,000 in profits in the gym’s first year, Donovan said.

Working to GIVE now operates seven businesses — such as Disneyland and fairground concessions — that employ 35 people and approximately 12 contracted laborers. By the end of this year, it expects to donate $75,000 in those business’ respective communities, Donovan said.

A committee made up of local community leaders will oversee the donations from the Atascadero gym. It would identify three major areas of need in the community at the end of each year, and the gym’s members would vote on their desired projects, Donovan said.

The gym’s location near downtown Atascadero is the former home of the short-lived clothing retailer Designers Outlet, which closed early this year after operating only five months. Before that, the Outlet Tool Supply operated there for about a decade.

The gym plans to hire 20 to 25 employees for its January opening.

For more information, visit the gym’s website at www.givefitness.com.

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