Snap Fitness opens new type of gym for Natchez

Published 11:50 pm Saturday, April 26, 2008

NATCHEZ — With no contracts and all day and night business hours, Snap Fitness in Natchez is a new strain of gym.

Most gyms require its members to sign contracts that extend beyond one month, typically between six and 12 months.

Craig Watson, owner of Snap Fitness, said when someone signs up for a gym membership, they are simply charged each month.

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“If they decide they no longer want to be in the club, they just call 30 days before and the membership is suspended, that’s it,” he said.

Watson said the flexibility of this may encourage people to use the gym on a longer basis.

“I think a lot of people get locked into clubs and they show up for a couple of weeks and you never see them again,” he said. “I think these are the people who truly, truly want to be here on a month-to-month basis.”

Phillip Mardis, Snap Fitness manager, said if a member knows they are going out of town for a month or two, for $5 they can freeze their account, that way they aren’t charged each month.

But if the member is going to be in a location that offers a Snap Fitness, they can work out there.

“When you join one Snap Fitness, you join them all so you can go to any club in the country,” Mardis said.

Not only does the contract offer flexibility but so do the hours.

The gym is opened 24 hours a day and anyone can come and go as they please, while feeling safe.

Although there is no employee at the gym past 8 p.m., the business offers several safety features.

First, when a member signs up, they are given an access card.

This card allows only the member through the gym doors, as it’s on a lock system.

Secondly, if a member so chooses, they can wear a panic button necklace.

Mardis said once the panic button is pressed, the police are instantly dispatched.

Finally there is a surveillance system that can be monitored by storeowner Watson, no matter where he is.

“(There are) 24 hour surveillance cameras that I can actually monitor,” Watson said.

The gym offers new equipment, from cardio to free weights and also a tanning bed.

This no-frills gym doesn’t offer saunas or other upscale amenities, because it takes working out seriously.

“It’s for people who are seriously there for fitness,” Mardis said.

Watson said the response to the gym opening, which was only 33 days ago, has been good.

He said so far, the gym has over 350 members.

Watson will also be opening a Snap Fitness across the river in Vidalia.