By Starrla Cray
DELANO, WINSTED, DASSEL, MN In the past few years, Jason and Christina Clark of Dassel have gone from flight to fitness, trading airline careers for the chance to help people reach their weight, strength, and flexibility goals.
“It’s been a great opportunity for us,” said Christina (Yates), who grew up on a dairy farm west of Winsted.
The Clarks purchased the Snap Fitness center in Montrose in 2006, and gradually acquired other locations in St. Augusta, Dassel, and Howard Lake.
“We own others with friends and family,” Christina added.
Two months ago, they also purchased the Snap Fitness on Babcock Boulevard in Delano (next to Coborn’s).
“We’re just really excited to be in Delano,” Christina said.
By mid-February, they plan to have the center moved one block west, with an 800-square-foot addition.
“It will be a total of 3,200 square feet larger than most Snap Fitness sites,” Christina said.
One reason for the expansion is to make room for fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates, and Zumba.
“It’s going to be our first experience with group exercise,” Christina said, adding that Delano is one of the first 10 Snap Fitness locations in the US to offer this opportunity.
The extra space will also allow for showers, stand-up tanning, and new exercise equipment.
“We like to make sure everything is state-of-the-art,” Christina said.
Owning a business gives the Clarks the flexibility to spend time with each other and their children.
“It’s been such a blessing to our family,” Christina said.
She and Jason have three children Gregory, 7, Nathan, 5, and Isaac, 1.
“We also have one on the way, due in June,” she added.
The Clark boys aren’t old enough to use the gym yet, but they are looking forward to that day.
“Gregory is so funny. He keeps asking when he can start working out on the machines,” Christina laughed.
Flying to fitness
Christina worked at The Pantry and the Blue Note in Winsted before becoming a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines.
That’s when she found Jason, who was also a flight attendant.
They met Halloween night in 1998, during a flight from Atlanta to Minneapolis.
After they got married and started having children, the constant travel wasn’t ideal, however.
“Jason and I flew opposite schedules,” Christina said.
The idea for a career change came while Christina was on maternity leave, working part time at Cokato’s Snap Fitness.
“I thought, ‘this is too much fun,’” Christina said. She and Jason are both interested in sports and fitness, and they decided they’d like to be involved in Snap Fitness full time.
Now, Christina handles the marketing, while Jason takes care of the bookkeeping.
“As flight attendants, we traveled all over the world, but now we get to know people more and develop good friendships,” she said.
One of their favorite parts is helping people reach their fitness goals.
“We have friends who’ve lost over 100 pounds,” Christina said. “Obesity can be a lifelong battle, so seeing someone overcome it is really rewarding.”
Throughout the year, the Clarks offer specials to encourage more people to try Snap Fitness. For a limited time, the first month of dues is free for new members.
“Our goal is customer service,” Christina said. “We want people to stay and achieve their goals.”
Snap Fitness, based in Chanhassen, has been called one of the fastest growing franchises. Since it was founded in 2003, the company has opened nearly 900 clubs in the US, Canada, and India.
Jason and Christina love the versatility and convenience of Snap Fitness, which allows members to work out 24/7 at any location. Members also have the option to belong month-to-month, without signing a long-term contract.
To learn more about Snap Fitness in Delano, call Christina at (320) 296-5100, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.snapfitness.com/delano.