An invitation to Thrive

By Kathryn Reyes

“Don’t just live . . . thrive!”

That’s what Thrive Community Fitness has been encouraging everybody to do since they opened their doors this month in Oak Harbor.

The local branch, located at NE Seventh Avenue and Highway 20, is the growing company’s largest of five facilities with a floor area of 13,000 square feet.

Other Thrive fitness centers can be found in Duvall, Redmond, Monroe and Anacortes.

These branches are situated in smaller communities, a place where the company’s presence is aimed.

“Oak Harbor couldn’t have been a more perfect fit for us because the smaller area is just the kind of community we can be a part of,” marketing manager Debra Kwiat said. “You’ll never see us in downtown Seattle. You’ll never see us in big cities because we don’t want to just get lost. We want to be a part of the community.”

Regional manager Kristen List added, “We don’t want a huge, overwhelming community because we do not want to compromise our service. We want to remember every member’s name, we want to know who they are, who their kids are. We want to be aware of when they’re gone, of what they like to do. It’s all part of giving the best service.”

Kwiat said that excellent service is indeed one of the things that they take pride in providing their members. They promise a clean and friendly environment all the time. Proof of that is how they make available clean sweat towels and spray bottles within the gym premises at all times.

According to Kwiat, their typical member is a mother in her 30s. That’s why they want to provide a positive and wholesome environment.

“We want people to come in and say, ‘okay, this looks like a good place for me and my child to be’,” she said. With that, Thrive includes a very practical and important amenity at their fitness center — the kids’ room. It is actually a program that they call Thrive Kids, where the children can play, have fun and be taken care of while the members are working out.

“We know that there are a lot of military moms in Oak Harbor that need an outlet like this. We are hoping that with the help of Thrive Kids program, we will be able to provide that for them,” Kwiat said.

Thrive is a family-owned business that was first formed in 2001. The company was started by four men, Joe Culver, Aaron Culver, John Flemming and Jeff Wolf, who wanted to create a positive environment where people can work out and begin to live healthier lifestyles. The company is rapidly expanding since its start six years ago and is now offering franchising opportunities for interested investors.

Thrive Community Fitness in Oak Harbor has over 100 pieces of equipment for its members to enjoy. The best thing about that, Kwiat said, is that people don’t have to wait in line just to get on a treadmill. “We have enough for everybody to have something to do all the time without any type of waiting.”

Members can opt to participate in various kinds of group fitness classes like yoga, pilates, cardio step, cardio kick, step and strength, and many more. For an extra fee each month, members are entitled to unlimited access to any of the classes being offered.

Seniors can also join Thrive through a program called Silver and Fit, wherein they will honor sign-ups through a senior citizen’s insurance.

Newcomers intimidated by the training equipment in the gym need not worry. As soon as one becomes a member, he or she is entitled to a free demonstration and evaluation with a personal trainer. The trainer will teach the member how to operate the machines. At the same time, List said the evaluation will also help the member know his or her current health status. The trainers are there to help the members meet what they want to achieve as well as find out what would be good for them.

“If a member comes in and says, ‘I want to lose 50 pounds by next month,’ then the trainer will talk to them and help them achieve those goals,” List said.

List, whose area includes Anacortes and Oak Harbor, said that they have gotten a very healthy response from the community since they opened three weeks ago.

“What I’ve seen in Oak Harbor is that they are creating a social environment when they work out. People know each other. It’s a chance to catch up with people and to get together with friends,” she said.

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