Newspaper Archive of
Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
Mason County Journal
Get your news here
News of Mason County, WA
October 30, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
PAGE 21     (21 of 48 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
PAGE 21     (21 of 48 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
October 30, 2014

Newspaper Archive of Shelton Mason County Journal produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2021. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.

Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 - Mason County Journal - Page A-21 rr Randy Smith watches one of his trainers' sessions at Shelton Athletic Club. Journal photo by Lloyd Mullen Gym buddies took over family business in 2009 By LLOYD MULLEN Iloyd@masoncoun com It took a divorce for Josh Johnson to start going to the gym. "I needed something to keep my mind occu- pied," the co-owner of Shelton Athletic Club said. Johnson, a lifetime local of Shelton, was a high school athlete. His sport of choice was football. "The day after football was over, I didn't touch a weight for about 20 years," he said. "You have jobs, and you get married. I have three kids, and I found myself going through a divorce. I needed something to do with my free time, or I'd go crazy. It was an escape; that's why I started." When Johnson started going to the gym, he said, there was virtually no equipment. Twenty years ago, Johnson's uncle, Vern John- son, suggested his family buy the gym. "I told my dad about it, and we came down and looked at it," he said. The Johnsons then had several meetings with the owner of the gym, Rose Nye, who eventually decided to sell. When Johnson started running the gym about 20 years ago for his family, he thought it would be a fun clubhouse where he could hang out all day. "It was a shock .... I am amazed at the never- ending sea of paperwork this place generates," he said. "It was not what I thought." While attempting to change a light fixture in the gym, Johnson saw Randy Smith (now a co- owner of Shelton Athletic Club) running on a treadmill. "I needed help changing a light fixture, and we hit it off," Johnson said. "Pretty soon we're intro- ducing each other to our families. We've been re- ally tight for a long time. We did everything to- gether. Any project down here, he was the first one to volunteer and help out." About six years ago, Johnson's parents and brother decided they wanted to move to Las Vegas and sell the gym. "We were all going to go our separate ways," Johnson explained. "It was the first time in my adult life that I wasn't going to be working in some capacity in the family business. It was really weird. When it came down to it, I was going to be here until it sold. Then Randy said, Why don't you buy it?'" The two friends bought the business and have been run- ning it together for the past five Johnson years. Johnson and Smith's friend- ship saw a drastic change once they got into busi- ness together. "The first year and a half was not easy," John- son said. "The last three years, we've really been getting into learning each othelZs styles .... It has really come a long way." According to Johnson, Smith is the fiery one in the business. "He's not afraid to tear into something, to tack- le a project," Johnson said. "If it can save the club money, he will tear it apart and try to fix it him- self." "If he's had a long day at his other job, he will do what it takes to get it done," he said. "I would say that's his biggest strength." Johnson said they balance each other out nice- ly. "I take my time. He's more fiery, and I'm more level," he said. The club isn't just a job for Johnson. Four years ago, he started having medical issues. "I had some medical conditions that finally got diagnosed," Johnson said. "Once I did that, I started lifting and working out and lost 53 pounds. I don't miss many days. I work out Mon- day through Friday pretty religiously. Now I can't imagine not having that time (exercising). That's my therapy." Johnson isn't the only one who has used the gym as therapy. "I think that there are different reasons for everyone: whether people are older, they want to make a change in their lives, I've seen this place transform people. It's transformed me," he said. Johnson said that he's seen his club become a place of social gathering. "It can transform their life, and that's a huge thing," he said. "With elderly people, I see it keeps them young. Even if they don't push them- selves, it gets them out of bed, and they get to socialize with people their age. They talk about books they've read; it's part of their social calen- dar. I've seen people come in here in wheelchairs and work themselves into walkers, then canes and up to racquetball. It's incredible to see some of the changes people are able to make." Johnson recalled a story that happened to one of his members a few years ago. "There was a regular at the gym, an 82-year- old lady who swam here on a regular basis. One day after she was working out, a young guy came into the gym. He went into the locker room, but he wasn't a member, so we asked him to leave. The lady came back into the gym and said, 'That guy just tried to steal my car. He jumped into my car and tried to steal my purse. I knocked him in the face and he got out and ran. If I didn't work out here, he probably would have gotten both (the purse and the car).' " The most rewarding part of his job, John- son said, is when people tell him the gym has changed their lives. "I have a lot of people who work out all over the country and come back and say this place is different than other gyms; it's special," he said. "The owners are here. It's not a corporate struc- ture. You know a lot of the people here, It's just a different feeling that you get in other gyms." Customers bending his ear is a consequence of being so available. "People tell me I should write a book. You see way too much and, since this is a small place, people treat you like a bartender or a barber; they give you secrets that you should have no business knowing," he said with a laugh. Staying positive is Johnson's biggest chal- lenge, he said. "You try to make it the best place it can be. But because it's so small and people have so much access to you, it's hard to stay positive and not get cynical, knowing that you're not going to please everyone. If they could see what Randy and I do, both of our goals is to make this place the best it can be," Johnson said. By the first of the year, 3ohnson and Smith will begin implementing a high-intensity train- ing program. The reason, Johnson said, is be- cause membership has been on the rise. "When I started here, there was no radio, half of the lights were out. Now there's so many people, and there is a demand for that style of training," he said. "It's a big step for us. If you designate square footage in a small building to any one thing, it can really take off or people can resent it."