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Locally Richmond: Move Around Fitness

on November 6, 2015

Locally Richmond is an occasional series of profiles that highlights the small businesses that contribute to making Richmond a unique community. 

The dark and treacherous battle with cancer leaves some people helpless and weak. For Sarita Evans, it put things into perspective. It reinforced in her the importance of her relationship with her daughter as well as the importance of her health.

“I was very scared and I was a single parent and became very focused on trying to build a future for my daughter,” Evans said.

Though she had surgery to remove the cancer, doctors explained that she had a 50-50 chance of the disease returning, and if that happened, it would greatly reduce her odds of survival. Evans did not waste any time, jumping into the health and fitness industry as a way of keeping herself fit while creating some economic security.

That was 13 years ago. Evans not only survived, but also emerged as a successful entrepreneur, creating her own company, Move Around Fitness, a mobile gym based on South 50th Street in Richmond.

Move Around Fitness is a shuttle bus Evans converted into a fitness studio on wheels. The bus is equipped with 10 spin bikes, which can be moved outside to convert the studio floor into a yoga space or to be used for stretch classes. Clients also can track their heart rate on a TV monitor while they work out.

“We can have classes outside of the vehicle and inside the vehicle simultaneously,” Evans said. “It’s just a lot of fun.”

Evans already operated a conventional gym when she came up with the idea of starting a mobile version. She knew the industry was changing a lot.

Rents were rising,and Evans was finding it hard to keep her employees paid without raising her membership prices.

She was waiting at a streetlight, trying to figure out ways to increase her revenue while decreasing her overhead. A bus barreled by allowing her to see into the bus, Evans recalled, and an idea popped into her head: Going mobile would allow her to cut costs while reaching a larger population.

She caters to small businesses looking for a way to improve the health of their employees with minimal impact on productive work time.

Evans has recruited some other organizations to get the word out about the mobile fitness studio. A group in Oakland called Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services (PEERS) recently invited Move Around Fitness to participate in its annual health day.

Haydée Cuza, executive director of PEERS, decided the concept of a mobile gym was “awesome.” The PEERS event was held outside by Lake Merritt. The mobile fitness classes and bikes were an instant hit.

“We got excellent feedback,” Cuza said. “Move Around Fitness mobile allowed for something different. We got requests for it to return next year.”

Evans plans to expand the business through franchising in hopes to bringing the low-cost mobile gym facilities into communities which otherwise couldn’t support a community fitness center.

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Richmond Confidential is an online news service produced by the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for, and about, the people of Richmond, California. Our goal is to produce professional and engaging journalism that is useful for the citizens of the city.

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