By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
Eastern New Mexico University senior Justin Johnson is starting a local business, while wrapping up his education.
Johnson, originally from Raton, is the owner of Fitness and More, a gym on the downtown square in Portales. He opened up the newly renovated sweat box in early December.
Several years ago, Johnson began working for himself as a personal trainer; he also worked at the gym under previous management a few years ago before the business bug bit.
He’s owned and operated the gym for only about seven months, and despite a few speed bumps, the entrepreneur is optimistic.
“Things are going really well for us,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s girlfriend, Brittany Bailey, has been a regular visitor to the gym for about three years — in fact, they met at the gym.
“We’ve made a lot of changes,” Bailey said. “It’s evolving. We’re offering more products,” Bailey said. “We’re doing a lot to just get more people involved.”
The gym has offered a few classes in its first year of existence. Some are flourishing, and some haven’t gotten off the ground yet, but Johnson has a plan to change that.
“The aerobics class is doing real good. And our Jiu-Jitsu class is also doing very well,” Johnson said. “(Our Yoga class) hasn’t really taken off too well yet, but we’re going to actually be offering some free (Yoga) classes on July 26 to try to get some more people into it.”
While things may seem slow as the summer months drag on, Johnson and Bailey believe the fall will bring more business.
“When school picks up, (we expect it to get busy, because) they’ll drop their kids off and come here and tan or work out,” Bailey said.
Johnson is not only trying to get his business off the ground, but also going to school at Eastern New Mexico University closing in on a double major of business and accounting.
“It was kind of challenging last semester,” Johnson said. “I was taking quite a few classes, and I ended up having to drop one.”
But the small business owner has just three classes this semester, on track to graduate in December.
“I’ve taken most of my business classes already, and it’s really helped me a lot here,” Johnson said.
While the venture has taken up much of his time in the last year, Johnson says he has been very fortunate in building his business.
“I kind of knew what to expect, but it actually has taken up a lot more of my time than I expected it to,” Johnson said. “What I didn’t expect was a lot of the maintenance that I’ve had to do. Everything else has gone pretty smooth. I was surprised. I expected it to be a little bit more of a challenge than it has been.”
For information on the three classes available at the gym (Aerobics, Yoga and Jiu-Jitsu) and membership packages, phone the gym at 356-6551.
“Our staff is friendly,” Bailey said. “We like to greet people when they come through.”