Michelle Brannon, owner with husband John Cooney

Sunset Family Fitness

840 24th Ave., Seaside

Step into Sunset Family Fitness, west of U.S. Highway 101 on 24th Avenue at the north entrance of Seaside, for everything you need to achieve physical fitness at rates designed for every individual. The center is open form 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, visit the Web site at (www.SunsetFamilyFitness.com) or call (503) 738-8304.

What do you do?

"We are a full fitness gym offering a lot of classes, yoga and youth fitness. With over 10 years experience, I manage the fitness center and am the lead fitness instructor and personal trainer. My husband John is an active-duty member of the U.S. Coast Guard and instructs in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), First Aid and Sports Safety Training. We provide individual and small group training and give fitness assessments. Membership for the full service gym may be purchased annually or for one-, three- or six-month periods, or drop in for just one, five or 10 days. A class pass is available for those who just want classes. We have classes in aerobics, cycling, youth and an active older adult class as well as yoga. You can see all of our classes on our Web site. We provide supervised play care at our large, secure indoor play center and we even have a café with free wireless Internet."

How did you get started with this business?

"I worked here as an instructor and manager when it was known as Seaside Fitness. The owners had three gyms and wanted to sell them. This one was offered as part of a real estate deal, and we saw the potential so we purchased it in 2007 and revitalized it. We added child care and special classes."

What is your volume of business?

"When we took it over we had 185 members and it was losing money. Now we have 500 members, and over 35 classes a week with eight to 12 students in each class, on average. It makes money now, but not a lot because we lowered the prices. We are paying the bills, the members are happy and so are we doing what we want."

What is your strategy for coping with the recession?

"By offering a wide range of membership options, we have something to fit any lifestyle. We made a partnership with Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District so we can offer a combined membership with Seaside's community pool at a $250 annual savings. This includes use of all gym equipment, including cardio, free weights and universal machines combined with open recreational swim session, lap swim and adaptive swim sessions. We host the Seaside Beach Run and all net proceeds are used to provide free fitness center memberships to Clatsop County middle and high school students. Right now we have 135 students enjoying free membership. We also became members of the Fit Life Clubs, a network of clubs throughout the Northwest. Members may use other clubs in the network as guests when traveling."

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