Operation HeartFirst™ will help military vets own and operate their own franchised gyms.
Hastings, Minn. – For the 2nd year in a row, Anytime Fitness is partnering with Tee It Up for the Troops, a national non-profit organization, in an effort to help military veterans open their own gyms and provide additional employment opportunities for fellow veterans. Dubbed “Operation HeartFirst,” Tee It Up For the Troops will offer a $125,000 grant and a $125,000 loan to a select number of honorably discharged veterans for the purpose of assisting with initial start-up capital to be used for the development of an Anytime Fitness franchise. Anytime Fitness’ HeartFirst Charitable Foundation™ will provide a grant to Tee It Up for the Troops, which will then offer this opportunity to approved veterans, National Guard members, or reservists, as well as oversee the selection process and management of logistics.
“Operation HeartFirst is our way of saying thank you to all of the fine service men and women who’ve made tremendous sacrifices for our country,” said Dave Mortensen, President of Anytime Fitness, LLC. “Currently, about 10% of our franchisees are military veterans. We’d like to see that number grow even higher. Veterans are some of our best and most successful club operators.”
Tee It Up for the Troops will accept online applications from April 1 – May 1, 2016, via http://www.teeitupforthetroops.org/anytime-fitness-veteran-franchise-opportunity/. Among other key criteria, interested veterans must have “a passion for fitness and community engagement.”
“We are looking for candidates who are eager to help others lead healthier lifestyles and who continue to serve and support the U.S. military and its veterans,” said Tim Wegscheid, President of Tee It Up for the Troops. “This particular opportunity involves an Anytime Fitness gym to be located in the Columbus, GA area, near Fort Benning. The selected franchisee will determine the precise location of the gym.”
Anytime Fitness, LLC has also agreed to waive its initial franchise fee and ongoing royalty payments related to this opportunity. Consideration will be given by the selection committee to veterans with service-related disabilities.
“The unemployment rate for military veterans is significantly higher than the national average,” said Chuck Runyon, CEO of Anytime Fitness, LLC. “That’s just not right. Our hope is that Operation HeartFirst will not only help veterans operate their own businesses, but also provide jobs for other vets as club managers and personal trainers – for many years to come.”
The first Operation HeartFirst recipients, Tristan and Hannah Ambrozewski, expect to open their Anytime Fitness gym, near Fort Bragg in Southern Pines, NC, within the next few weeks. The next Operation HeartFirst recipients will be selected by June 15th with a club opening date expected early next year.