Island Fitness begins a new chapter

Brenda Canning
Island Fitness owner Brenda Canning shows off her new space on the second floor at The Center of Anna Maria Island. - Kristin Swain | Sun

ANNA MARIA – A new partnership is turning into a beautiful thing for both Island Fitness and The Center of Anna Maria Island.

Brenda Canning moved her business into the fitness center at The Center in November and, a month later, she says she couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

“The transition’s been great,” she said. “Everyone’s been so welcoming.”

When her lease was up at the Waterline Shops in Holmes Beach, Canning needed to find a new home for her business. In a fortuitous turn of events, it turns out that Center leadership was searching for a community organization to partner with.

After being brought together by a third party, Center Executive Director Kristen Lessig and Canning came to an agreement that benefits both organizations.

Members of Island Fitness were given the month of November to get acquainted with the facilities at the Center before they had to sign an agreement. Canning said she’s retained her membership at the new location and has seen a growth in activity. Lessig said the Center’s membership has grown with the addition of Island Fitness.

The way the agreement between the Center and Island Fitness works is that the fitness organization receives a percentage of membership dollars and occupies the majority of the second floor of the facility. Canning oversees all fitness programming and operations at the Center. She also owns and maintains all of the fitness equipment. The only segment of the Center’s fitness programming she doesn’t oversee is the CrossFit program, run by Shay Coleman, who also works as a trainer at the nonprofit.

In the New Year, Canning said she hopes to add additional fitness classes, a youth gymnastics program, at least two more pieces of equipment and 24-hour access to the fitness facilities. She said the response to the change from members of both Island Fitness and The Center has been very positive.

“I think it (the partnership) fits the direction of where I’ve always wanted the Center to go regarding community collaborations and partnerships,” Lessig said, adding she hopes the Center can expand its partnerships in the future.