Step inside the front door at Parkpoint in Healdsburg, and it feels as though the stresses of the outside world are left at the door. Suddenly, you’re in the stress-free zone. The café is inviting, where guests can order coffee, tea or wine, while reading the paper, and outside, the pools give a resort-like feel, with palm trees freshly pruned and members swimming laps and wading in the warmth. Walking upstairs, fitness classes are just wrapping up, and the sounds of the cycle class is dying down. It’s not just a place to exercise, but a place where members can decompress and enjoy the endless amenities not often found in other clubs.
When Bill Buchanan moved to Santa Rosa from Newport Beach in the 1976, he joined one of the two gyms at the time, which he describes as unpleasant and falling apart. With a background in commercial development, and knowing very little about the fitness industry other than being a consumer, he started his own health club in 1983, Parkpoint, a 24,000-square-foot fitness club located in Santa Rosa Business Park. “I wanted a place with one fee that included everything, and didn’t nickel and dime members,” says Buchanan.
His approach worked, and six years later, he opened his second location in Sonoma. “A friend of mine was developing a shopping center in Sonoma, and asked if I would be interested in building a club there,” he says. Buchanan has maintained his philosophy of offering something for everybody at all times, and staying on top of his game in the health club industry, which has brought him more than 35 years of success in the North Bay. “We strive to offer the wide variety of classes, equipment and amenities that boutique gyms can’t. Once people are in the door, they seem to enjoy the camaraderie that Parkpoint fosters,” he says. In 2006, he opened his newest Parkpoint Club in Healdsburg, a 16,000-square-foot facility with all the bells and whistles, featuring a two-pool aquatic complex. And the long-standing staff and instructors add to the warm relationships formed throughout the club. “We have great instructors and staff that have been with us for many years,” he says. “We offer them benefits and I want to make sure we continue to grow to offer more opportunities for them.”
The happy and friendly staff is telling of the environment at Parkpoint. “People come in happy, and they leave happier,” says Buchanan. He notices the approaching small parade of children on razor scooters calmly rolling through the lobby and out toward the patio. The consensus from Buchanan and the surrounding members drinking their morning coffee and enjoying their newspaper, is a sense of joy that’s part of the family environment at Parkpoint.
Buchanan is always looking for new opportunities, but says Parkpoint will always stay in Sonoma County and maintain the two important aspects to the health clubs’ success: consistency and value. “They are the most important,” he says. “And we’re able to achieve them through our great, long-standing staff.”
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