Over the course of the next year or so, several of the Snap Fitnesses in Columbus will be getting a facelift, starting with the soon-to-reopen Bexley spot at its new home at 2408 E. Main St.
It’s one of the five Central Ohio gyms that Tony Capuano and his wife, Hannah, own. Also under their watch are Snap Fitnesses in Upper Arlington, 2080 Arlington Ave., Grandview, 1409 W. Third Ave., German Village, 864 S. Third St., and Short North, 18 E. Hubbard Ave.
Entrepreneurship has always been a part of Capuano’s life, but for many years it seemed he was headed for another well-known local brand: Donatos. His grandpa started the pizza chain, and mom Jane Abell Grote is Chairwoman of the Board.
He grew up wanting to be a part of the family business, but after hearing ‘you’re going to take over Donatos’ a few too many times, Capuano realized, “I kind of wanted to do my own thing on an entrepreneur level.”
While earning his degree in marketing and management at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Capuano decided that his entrepreneurial venture would be owning his own gym.
“I grew up in a culture where the mission and purpose of our family business was to make a customer’s day brighter, leave the community better than how we found it, and overall treat others the way you want to be treated,” he says. “When I experienced how fitness, health and wellness could transform people’s lives, I was drawn to it. It’s about continual improvement, and bettering not only yourself but others in the process.”
After college Capuano connected with a group of owners already invested in several local Snap Fitness locations around Central Ohio, working his way up to an operations manager position behind the largely absentee overheads.
In 2012, an offer to buy into the Upper Arlington and Grandview locations gave Capuano his first taste of ownership. Nine months later when there was talk of selling the German Village franchise back to corporate, Capuano stepped up.
In addition to the Short North location that he’d helped open, he took full ownership of the Upper Arlington, Grandview, Bexley and German Village locations.
“We bought them four years ago initially because it was important for us that they remain locally owned and operated,” Capuano says.
The last four years have been a learning curve in leadership. Fresh out of college at the onset, Capuano was learning to run the company from his previous business partners who were absentee owners. Capuano sees the role of an owner as much more active, and in the last year has made efforts to better align the Snap Fitness locations with the neighborhoods they inhabit.
“It’s important for us to be good neighbors and an asset to the community,” he says.
Bexley’s Snap Fitness will be the first to benefit from a brand overhaul that seeks to take the five locations in a more modern direction.
“We’re kind of taking the opportunity to reinvest in what we see the vision to be for these gyms,” Capuano says.
Being one of the few multi-club owners in the Snap Fitness system, Capuano says corporate has given them the go ahead to explore different brands and different concepts.
The Capuanos will use that freedom to make several updates. Hannah is giving the design an overhaul, removing the familiar red in favor of black, white and natural wood tones to elevate the brand.
The square footage is getting an uppage, from 3,500 to 5,000 square feet, and with it, “Part of the new concept is a lot more programming, a lot more personal training, group classes, and then partnerships as well,” Capuano says.
The Bexley gym is slated to be the second location for Native Cold Pressed Juice. Capuano met the owners and the Short North gym and they found an alignment in ideals about what a fitness center and juice spot should look like for the community.
Snap Fitness is also developing a partnership with Pelotonia. Riders and non riders alike will be able to support the organization with some sweat equity throughout the year with more details expected to be announced in early 2017.
The revamped Bexley Snap Fitness is slated for a December opening. With the flagship model in place, Capuano expects to roll out the updates to the four other locations at least every quarter.
For more information, visit snapfitnesscbus.com.
All photos by Hannah Capuano.