Monday, March 17, 2014
In 2003 I was once sitting in the room with a friend and we were talking about what we really wanted to do in this life. What was our dream? What did it look like? How could we make it happen? After talking for just a few minutes it was good to find out that his dream and my dream were practically one in the same. We wanted to open up a place in Central New Jersey that could help people fight the battle of obesity. You see his family was fighting that battle in a big way and so was mine. The problem was that we had good paying jobs and we did not know if we focused enough and dedicated enough time to make this happen. I had felt for years the Lord calling me to do something like this. I remember sitting down with him and going over the details of what this gym would look like and after spending many hours of talking and dreaming, we looked at each other and asked the question, “are we serious or, once I leave your home, will we just go back to our normal mundane lives, really not trying to make a difference in anyone’s life but our own?” That night before leaving we swore an oath that we would follow this dream through to its end where ever we lived.
To make a long story short, a few weeks later I receive a call from my friend’s mother and that call changed my life forever. Tommy (my dear friend), at age 26, had died in a motorcycle accident. He hit a bus head on and died instantly. When I was listening to his mother tell me what happened I was devastated and at a loss for words. This was one of the hardest funerals I ever had to go to. However, while sitting in the audience I remember what we had said and from the moment I got into my car I never looked back at my old self and began the process of transforming my life and live our dream. Thus, Parker’s Place was born.
In the spring of 2004 I opened up Parker's Place and my purpose was to bring a place where people could come and feel accepted as they fight the battle of obesity. I wanted this place to give people the ability to get the personal training they wanted and at a modest cost. I wanted people to feel as though they belong to not just a health club but a place where people really cared for their health and well being and over the last 10 years, according to what I have been told, many feel that this has happened.
There is another segment of the population that are just afraid to enter into a health club because they are just too afraid to face the public. They are the morbid obese and that population is getting larger every year. In 2007 I started a program where I take people 50 pounds or more over weight and help them change their life styles. This program is called the Parker's Place Weight Loss challenge and since its inception it has had 7 classes go through the program totaling 162 people and the retention rate throughout the program has been 95% and the average weight loss has been 70 pounds. Lives have been changed because of that program and on so many levels it has taken a life of its own.
In 2011 Parker’s Place did something that implemented something else that has allow it to help even more people. In 2011 Parker’s Place became a 24/7 gym and through the process of hard knocks we finally understood that we could not be everything to everyone and there are people in the community that did not have 9-5 jobs and could not fit the conventional schedules in their lives and those people still needed a place where they could come and workout. Also in 2011, Parker’s Place opened its doors to other personal trainers and for a nominal fee they bring their people in and train them here. Everyone wins! The trainers get to do what they do best and don’t have that big time costs associated with their business. The member wins because they get that person they always wanted and the club wins because it is being utilized.
In 2013, Parker’s Place increased its presents on social media and began putting positive uplifting messages as well as daily exercises on its Facebook page. With all that going on I began to see an upsurge in the demand that was being put on Parker’s Place and I my vision for expanding became clearer and clearer. In 2013 I began to see that I needed more room for more equipment to satisfy that need but I had no room to put it without getting completely overcrowded and very little room for members to operate comfortably.
Well, to make a long story short and without going into too much detail, effective May 1st, 2014 Parker’s Place will be relocating to a bigger facility in Oconomowoc Wisconsin, so that it can meet the demand it has been given. Whereas through this whole process I have seen God’s hand moving, my prayer is that I can stay in the center of His will. I ask all who pray if they could pray for me as I open at this new location.