Arne Jackson (centre) stands behind general manager Frankee Bencher and wife Diana Jackson. Anytime Fitness plans to open its Sidney location on Nov. 20 (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Arne Jackson (centre) stands behind general manager Frankee Bencher and wife Diana Jackson. Anytime Fitness plans to open its Sidney location on Nov. 20 (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Personal health scare inspires Sidney’s newest gym

Arne Jackson said the scare was a ‘wake-up call’

The irony is not lost on Arne Jackson, as he prepares to open up an Anytime Fitness location in what used to be a convenience store at the corner of Beacon Avenue and Resthaven Drive.

“It’s kind of funny to go from a Slurpee machine to a gym,” he says with a laugh, while surrounded by fitness machines and other equipment in various stages of being unpacked.

Jackson is shooting for a Nov. 20 opening.

He bought the franchise more than a year ago.

“So it has taken some time,” he said. “We have had issues finding property. Sidney is a very difficult place to find property. Originally, we were thinking of Sidney Crossing, which is that new development they were proposing, and then they didn’t go ahead.”

RELATED: Retail development Sidney Crossing cancelled due to construction costs

Jackson eventually reconsidered in favour of a downtown location. “I really wanted something here,” he said. “People can walk here. It was a real priority to make this a community gym.”

Jackson enters the fitness business with more than two decades as owner of the construction company Cougar Pacific Systems and a personal journey along the way. “Between my company and my [three] kids, I thought I didn’t have the time to go to the gym,” he said. “I did, but I told myself I didn’t. I haven’t been consistent with exercise except for the last six years.”

What changed was a health scare at the age of 50 that Jackson described as a “wake-up call” and inspired him to take charge.

“Some people take the doctor-pharmaceutical path, and I decided to go back to the gym,” said Jackson. “So it became a personal thing for me after a few years of being in gym in wanting to improve the lives of people in their 50s before the window closes. It was important for me to have people realize that there is an alternative.”

This focus on older people made Sidney an attractive choice as it is among the oldest communities in British Columbia, with a median age of 58. This said, the community has also been attracting a growing number of families, said Jackson. “There a lot of younger people moving to Sidney,” he said. “It is a community, where there is a mixture of both now. I want a community gym that encompasses everyone — old and young.”

Jackson’s Anytime Fitness franchise in Sidney will be one of more than 5,000 around the world. But if this figure suggests a large, faceless company, the opposite is the case, said Jackson.

“They are a real caring company, which for a large organization, I found unusual,” he said. “They do strive to make sure that their franchise owners get to know their people. It is important that we get to know our customers, our members. Everyone has a story, whether you are a fitness nut or you are brand new to the fitness game. People has a story that is dear to their heart.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Saanich Fire Department is responding to a structure fire in the 3300-block of Quadra Street on May 18. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Smoking pot on stove ignites Saanich fire call on Quadra Street

Traffic impacted in northbound lanes of 3300-block shortly after 11 a.m.

Local cyclist Max McCulloch catches air off a jump in the newly redesigned Organ Donor trail at Mount Work mountain biking park. The Capital Regional District approved its regional parks mountain biking guidelines and a list of short-term actions at the CRD board’s May 12 meeting. (Black Press Media File Photo)
CRD approves mountain biking guidelines that drove spoke between advocates, environmentalists

Guidelines aim to find new biking opportunites in region, while protecting park ecology

Howard English Hatchery volunteer Joscilyn Jupp poured one of many buckets of salmon fry into Douglas Creek on May 11, 2021. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
35,000 salmon fry released in Saanich park during closed event

Chum from Goldstream Hatchery trucked in to restore Douglas Creek salmon spawning

The Victoria Police Department is seeking information on an assault that occurred in downtown Victoria on May 10. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police investigating downtown Victoria assault on youth

Witness also attacked after trying to intervene

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The Nanaimo Timbermen and Victoria Shamrocks compete in Western Lacrosse Association action in Nanaimo during the 2019 season. (News Bulletin file photo)
WLA cancels another senior A lacrosse season due to COVID-19

Western Lacrosse Association, Major Series Lacrosse announce cancellation of Mann Cup

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Most Read