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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police closed McNeill Avenue after a workplace death Oct. 20, 2020. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
WorkSafe BC investigating man’s death during Oak Bay tree removal

Man was working for contracted tree removal company when incident occurred

Vic High (Black Press Media file photo)
Vic High stadium plans drop promised 8-lane track to ‘barely wider than city sidewalk’

Friends of Vic High seek public inquiry into plans for Memorial Stadium Revitalization Project

A notice on the door of the Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. says it closes permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks location to close permanently after 16 years

Residents association seeks reason for closure set for Oct. 25

A bear similar to this black bear was spotted on Elk Lake Drive on Oct. 20 and is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich the night before. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear spotted several times in Saanich likely to be euthanized

Conservation officers still searching for bear reported near Elk Lake Drive

The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
The West Shore RCMP released these images of a suspect as part of its investigation into a report of sexual assault on Sept. 17. (West Shore RCMP handout)
Sexual assault suspect sought by West Shore RCMP

Police are looking for help identifying this man

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

A 34-year-old man was treated for a gunshot wound in Williams Lake Monday, Oct 19, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake man treated for gunshot wound after accidental shooting: RCMP

Police are reminding residents to ensure firearms are not loaded when handling them

Most Read