MJ Reavley describes himself as a “pure-blooded entrepreneur.”
He began working in fitness as a personal trainer and eventually rose to vice president of Pure Fitness, which sold in November 2010. During his time at the company, Reavley learned about entrepreneurship and leadership, inspiring him to go out on his own and start a gym.
His project, Studio Fit, gradually developed a passionate fitness community. Reavley built up his company to three stores, but has since sold two of them while maintaining the Chandler location at South Alma School Road. On August 16th, the gym — now named Fit Society — will celebrate its ten year anniversary.
“This is my baby,” Reavley said. “I live, work and play in Chandler and this is my first love.”
Fit Society offers numerous opportunities for prospective clients. The gym offers both Group and Personal Training, as well as Orientation and Onramp to acclimate new members. With additional services such as Move+Correct — a program with exercises to reduce or remove pain — and fitness challenges, Fit Society’s philosophy of catering to each individual’s specific needs has contributed to its success.
The goal of connecting, challenging and inspiring people through fitness has created a loyal client base. According to Reavley, the average Fit Society client stays with the gym for over four years. He added that three of his employees have worked with him for more than eight years.
“It’s like our family over there,” Carol Summersgil, a nine-year client, said. “There’s just such a camaraderie and a friendly vibe and everybody’s there to support each other and help out. It’s a gym that gives back a lot to the community and really promotes the importance of communities.”
The tight-knit community plays a key role in the gym’s functionality during the COVID-19 pandemic— a public health crisis that has led the closing of 25 percent of gyms across the country.
Fit Society moved all its operations online during the opening stages of the pandemic and gave each client one-on-one sessions with a coach. In addition to working through exercises and discussing equipment, coaches made sure to check in on the physical and mental well-being of their clients.
Following three closings last year due to local pandemic directives, Reavley recalled the smiles and “Thank Yous” when he re-opened Fit Society’s doors.
“Because we choose to… try and do the right thing at the right time all the time in business and make those tough decisions, it paid off,” Reavley said. “It is really what got us through those shutdowns. There was never a time that people needed fitness and people needed social stimulus responsibility (more than) during the pandemic.”
An annual tradition is already in place for the gym’s decade anniversary. Reavley returns to his training roots by allowing his staff to leave in the late afternoon. He then teaches classes 5-8 p.m.
Families are also invited to attend a pool party and barbeque.
For employee Jacqui Hanford, her ten-year anniversary with Fit Society will come in two months. She joined the gym in October 2011, shortly after its opening.
The membership director and person in charge of administration, Hanford has the perspective of being a coach and serving in a management-level position throughout her time in Chandler. She believes that Fit Society has become a home for its members, thanks to the strategy of differentiating itself from gyms across the East Valley.
“We put a lot of time and effort into creating the product and experience that we have,” Hanford said. “We categorize ourselves as the micro gym because we’re smaller, not like the big bucks. And so, we’ve through the years made a concerted effort to make sure that it is more family-feel as opposed to a number-feel.”
“We know your name. We know your goals. We’ve created a culture where people want to come.”