The zip line, tattoo parlor and running trail at the new global headquarters of Anytime Fitness are more than gimmicks.
The fitness franchiser last week moved its main office from Hastings to a brand-new building situated on 38 acres of woods and wetlands in Woodbury.
While nearly every relocating company today tries to embellish its workspace with quirky, branded features, Anytime Fitness hopes its corporate headquarters encourages the same balance in its workers that it has encouraged with its customers.
“We wanted a space that worked best for us. It’s like our sleep number for work,” said Chuck Runyon, co-founder and chief executive of Anytime Fitness.
The move offers room to expand from its nearly 200 employees to as many as 300, which Runyon says it will need. The company owns 38 gyms and franchises more than 3,000 others in all 50 states and more than 20 countries. Anytime Fitness expects to continue enlisting franchisees at a pace to open 400 gyms every year for the next five years, with half outside the United States.
Floor-to-ceiling windows wrap the offices, and transparent conference rooms separate departments, design moves that allow light to flow through the building.
“We wanted to be democratic in sunlight. Everyone’s workstation has access to windows,” Runyon said.
BWBR Architects incorporated the company’s signature purple and playful personality in the halls, bathrooms and public space through varied textures and colors, including 3,500 square feet of barn wood reclaimed from Minnesota and Wisconsin farms.
The exterior of the 80,000-square-foot building is wrapped in locally sourced Kasota stone, manganese brick and bronze aluminum, and the lobby and community space greeting visitors offers a sweeping view of the wetlands through a two-story atrium-like wall.
All of the worker amenities — such as a full-size fitness center and a terrace with fire pits — can double as training space when franchisees and club workers from around the world visit for company events.
The building was designed to accommodate large training groups and to show off Minnesota’s natural environment.
Demand for fitness and recreation centers continues to climb as consumers focus on their health. The number of people employed by private fitness and recreation centers in the United States has risen above its pre-recession level. In the third quarter of 2005, the industry employed more than 495,000 people. In the same quarter in 2015, that number nearly reached 568,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During that same period, the number of fitness centers increased from about 29,000 to 32,600 nationwide.
Three years ago, Self Esteem Brands, the parent company of Anytime Fitness, acquired Waxing The City, a hair removal salon chain, and moved its headquarters from Denver to Minnesota.
The new office in Woodbury has a faux waxing salon space meant to simulate real-life experiences during training sessions.
That salon is next door to an onsite tattoo parlor where — during company events — employees can get the Anytime Fitness running man logo emblazoned on their skin for free.
The company occasionally flies in tattoo artist Jimmy Hayden, known for his celebrity clients like NBA star LeBron James, to ink employees during companywide gatherings. About 3,000 employees have already taken the company up on the running man tattoo offer.
Founded in 2002, Anytime Fitness has more than 3 million members around the world. It was recently named among Entrepreneur Magazine’s top 10 fastest-growing franchises across all industries. As it continues working toward its goal of 4,500 clubs nationally, parent company Self Esteem Brands (also run by Runyon) is “actively looking for a third brand” to acquire.
“With this building, we are betting on growth,” Runyon said.