“The partnership increases business for both companies,” Fit Express owner Linda Mathison said. “If someone comes in that I’m not comfortable helping, I can refer them to Active PT and vice versa.” In the beginning of October, Fit Express and Active PT moved into the same building to operate side by side.
Mathison knew that she wanted to expand Fit Express in Preston and so began looking for a new location that would give her more space. The Fit Express in Spring Valley was already sharing a space with Active PT, a physical therapy company out of Rochester and she felt that it would be a great partnership for Preston as well. She approached Dr. Brian McQuilken, co-owner of Active PT, to ask if they were interested.
Active PT had an office in Preston already, but felt that combining the two businesses into one building would be beneficial to their patients, as it was in Spring Valley.
Mathison ended up purchasing two of the buildings that used to belong to Northwest Aluminum. There were a lot of renovations that needed to be done, and so she hired contractor TD Fetterly to help. “He was very integral in being creative with renovating an old building,” Mathison said.
When the renovations were finished 4 ½ months later, the building had an handicapped accessible ramp on the front entrance, two new bathrooms, new flooring, three physical therapy rooms, and more. All of the original offices had to be torn out and new ones built. “It was a lot of work!” Mathison said. But in the end, it was all worth it.
Mathison applied for and received a Small Cities Block grant that helped cover a portion of the renovation costs.
With the new location, Fit Express managed to double its space. “We increased our space by about 1,200-1,500 square feet,” Mathison said. “Of course, that includes PT space.” The extra space has been much appreciated by the gym’s clients. “People like having their own space for free weights and having the extra room,” Mathison explained. The additional room will allow Mathison to offer fitness classes in the future. She’s also been able to add more equipment to the gym.
Patients at Active PT are now able to use the equipment at Fit Express for their therapies if needed, without purchasing a membership, although, of course, they’re welcome to do so. Doctor of Physical Therapy Adam Schaffer really appreciates the options that his patients now have. “It’s been really nice for the fact that we have access to a lot of different equipment that patients can utilize to further their rehab,” he said. “It also helps them get their foot in the door to adopting a healthy lifestyle.” Patients can warm up for their PT sessions with an eliptical or some of the other cardio equipment which allows them to gain more motion and have less discomfort during their appointment.
Active PT was able to have input on how their offices would be designed at the new Fit Express/Active PT location. “It’s been nice to have a brand new facility,” Schaffer pointed out. “It’s also really beneficial to be connected with Fit Express. It’s been a great relationship to have.”
Both of the businesses reopened for business in the first week of October with the transitions going smoothly. “It helped that it was close by,” Schaffer said, pointing out that each business only had to move about a block.
Members of Fit Express can use the facility 24/7 and can access it with a code. Active PT is open for appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays and Schaffer inputs a special code at the beginning of his day that leaves the door unlocked for patients to enter. Fit Express manager Dedra Langum is present at the building on the two days that Active PT is open. “She’s been a great advocate and resource if any patients have questions about memberships,” Schaffer noted.
“We’re thankful to be able to provide therapy services in the area,” Schaffer said. It’s only been a year since Active PT opened its doors in Preston, but he feels that the transition both to Preston and then to the new location has been very easy. “Everyone’s been very welcoming, and people have been very understanding of the change,” he said.
A ribbon cutting will be held at the Fit Express/Active PT building on October 25 at noon.
Anyone interested in an appointment with Active PT can call (507) 322-3460.
For more information on Fit Express, call (507) 765-5351.