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

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

Just Posted

To each their own pipe. The new sewer main during staging in James Bay before it was installed in 2018, to convey waste to the McLoughlin Point treatment facility. (Black Press Media file photo)
‘End in sight,’ for Victoria’s annual sewage overflows

Wastewater projects underway should end sewage overflows

Community members Ed Hutchinson, left, Dave Noren, and Pat Graham, president of The Ladies Guild, stand before the new book house outside the Church of the Advent in Colwood. The tiny library was built as a result of the annual Church of the Advent book sale being cancelled due to COVID-19. (Submitted/Joan Hoffman)
Colwood church builds little library

Church of Advent annual book sale cancelled due to health restrictions

(Courtesy Very Good Butchers)
Very Good Butchers brand adds cheese to its platter

The Cultured Nut products to be rebranded under Very Good Cheese banner

Oak Bay council will consider a protection order on 2072 Hampshire Rd. for Monday night. The 1880s farmhouse is the second oldest remaining farmhouse in Oak Bay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay’s second-oldest farmhouse could be moved

Council to consider protection order for 1880s home

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read