When Nancy Pance was attending Central Oregon Community College in Bend she expected to use her business degree to operate a coffee shop.
Her life, however, ended up going in a different direction. A personal interest in fitness was matched with the opportunity to own and operate the Anytime Fitness location in downtown Lebanon.
Pance, 40, made the move to Lebanon five years ago and the decision has been a personal and professional success.
“I used health and yoga and working out to form new habits to replace not-so-healthy habits. I became passionate about it,” Pance said. “This opportunity popped up and it was here. It was a great opportunity and I took that risk.”
Pance was born in Oceanside, California, where she spent her childhood. She lived in Bend from 1993 until 2015 and had visited Lebanon only once before committing to buy the business.
She understood she was making a gamble taking over a business in a community where she had no connections. So she immediately set to work building those relationships, which she credits for causing her business to thrive.
“It’s not necessarily me. It’s my members, it’s everyone that’s here. And a huge part of it … is the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce. I know that I wouldn’t be here or have the success that I’ve had if it weren’t for them,” Pance said. “They welcomed me with open arms. When you move somewhere and you don’t know one person to start a business, that’s really scary, and it’s risky.”
Pance is a member of the Chamber Ambassadors, the board of directors of the Lebanon Strawberry Festival, and the Lebanon New Business Generation.
She still remembers her first trips to a gym and she has built her entire approach around helping new members have a more positive initial experience than she did.
Pance makes an appointment with new members to walk them through the gym and all off the available equipment, teach them some basic stretches,assess their current fitness level and create a personalized workout plan. Not everyone who signs up takes advantage of this session, but the vast majority do, she said.
“Before I owned my own gym, I walked into a gym and I went and used the treadmill. I didn’t want to ask anybody, I felt awkward, even though it was offered when I first signed up, I still didn’t want to ask,” Pance said. “I didn’t even know how to use the equipment, so I just used the treadmill and went home. So really, a lot of people do that unless you push and say ‘Hey, let’s get you started on a plan.’”
Members have access to the gym 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The computer system keeps track of their visits and Pance organizes competitions to keep members motivated.
Those who complete 100 workouts in six months are recognized and members can buy small gifts such as water bottles and T-shirts with the points they earn.
“It’s nice, it keeps you motivated. If you haven’t been in a gym before or you need a little bit of an extra push, that’s one of the fun tools we use,” Pance said.
A renovation is under way in the gym’s functional training room. The space has been painted and new lights have been installed. Once the new floor surface is in place in a couple of weeks, the project will be complete.
Yoga classes are held in the space and these classes are offered at no e extra charge for gym members.
Jamie McEdwards is the yoga instructor
“She is fantastic. She accommodates all levels, so it doesn’t matter if you have never done yoga before or if you’ve been doing it for years, she’s able to help everybody in one class,” Pance said.
After hitting the five-year mark, Pance plans to keep the business right where it is in downtown Lebanon. This unexpected opportunity has led her to a place of true contentment.
“I just love what I do. It’s my happy place here. There’s no dreading coming to work with this job,” Pance said.