Starting your own business is a big risk, but a Sioux Falls duo is putting as much weight behind theirs as they possibly can. And that means they could end up redefining their entire market.
Owners hope you'll see something unique from the moment you enter this gym, beginning with the finger scan machine that gets you in the door.
"We wanted to look different, feel different from not having a front desk to not using a card to get in. Just make it feel and look different," dFine Private Fitness Club Mark Bartels said.
Bartels and Dave Burke's club on the corner of Minnesota Avenue and West 69th Street has been open for about a month now. The two have spent their careers as trainers and decided it was time to open their own gym.
"It's exciting and at the same, it's scary," Bartels said. "You work so hard on your dream that you want it to succeed."
"We wanted to bring that personal touch back to the gyms," Burke said.
And they're doing that in more than one way. The two have come up with an all-inclusive business model. One monthly fee pays for all classes, with schedules tailored to their clients. And as far as that membership goes, they're limiting how many people can walk through the door.
"Coming from a bigger city, you see more of these types of gyms that are more service-oriented then come in, work out and leave," Greg Tate, who jumped on board with the duo's plan, said.
But Burke and Bartels see it as more than that. Their vision is a gym where people stay after they work out.
That's one reason the membership desk is replaced by a bar. One of the club's amenities is a liquor license. The owners hope members will take time at come in, talk and throw back a cold one.
"Come in, relax a little bit, maybe sit in the sauna, steam room. Come, maybe watch a little sports if they're into that, have a beer before they go home," Burke said.
But he doesn't expect this 24-hour facility to become a late-night club. The main focus here is still fitness.
"I'm more of the physical fitness type of things with the work, the weights, not so much the swimming pool, basketball courts and things like that. That's not a need for me. This fits what I need," Tate said.
"Maybe someone has a wedding coming up or a vacation. Maybe someone just needs to get going. In this profession, you see people coming for lots of different reasons. Maybe it's to meet people. It just varies from person to person," Bartels said.
Although dFine is a 24-hour facility, it is only staffed during the day. The club only serves alcohol when staffed. Because of the liquor license, for now, only members 21 and up can join.