Couple from Hortonville, New London
By Scott Bellile
Two familiar locals are the new owners of Anytime Fitness in New London.
Bob and Geri Guyette, owners of the Black Otter Supper Club in Hortonville since 2003, took over the gym Aug. 5. Bob is a 1992 Hortonville High School grad and Geri is a 1995 New London High School grad.
The gym was previously owned by Katie and Wade Wisnefske and Chris and Kimberly Polanco.
The Guyettes will continue serving up meals at the Black Otter and running some of their side businesses in Hortonville. But Bob, who has a bachelor’s degree in physical fitness, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy the local gym franchise when it went up for sale. As part of the deal, they’ve also acquired an Anytime Fitness in Winneconne.
The couple plans many changes. The gym hired some new staff (manager Georgette Coppersmith and trainer Mike Lovelace remain from before). It will update its look to align with new corporate directives. Membership rates dropped. There will be new classes, such as boot camps, senior fit classes, cardio kickboxing, 20-minute abs and kids’ classes. The room where classes are held will be renovated.
Staff are listening to suggestions from members, such as requests for more showers and better communication between staff and members.
Anytime Fitness employee Tia Thern has worked at the Black Otter since she was a teen. She said the staff and customers feel like family at the restaurant, and that’s the goal for the gym.
Geri Guyette agreed.
“We don’t want people to feel like they’re members here,” Geri Guyette said. “We want to do like the Black Otter: We’re a family. We want the community to feel like this is theirs … not just a member swiping the key fob.”
A question many New London residents will ask: With the change in owners, will the locally famous volunteerism group The Golden Girls of Anytime Fitness remain?
Mary Thoma, a Golden Girls founding member, confirmed it will. She said plenty of brat fries are scheduled this fall. The group maintains a high fundraising goal for helping area residents experiencing hardship.
“They’re very supportive of the community,” Thoma said of the Guyettes. “… The very first brat fry after taking ownership [Bob] came out, showed his support right away, showed his support for the community, had a lot of good ideas on how we can help the community. Very supportive people.”
One of the Guyettes’ intentions is to regularly bring in well-known athletes for public events. Former Badgers basketball player Josh Gasser will be there for autographs and photos from 5-6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2.