Business

Island Fitness celebrates a decade of love, sweat and cheers

Alexa and Michael Rosenthal started Island Fitness in 2002, igniting a fervor for fitness on Bainbridge. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
Alexa and Michael Rosenthal started Island Fitness in 2002, igniting a fervor for fitness on Bainbridge.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

The world was quite a different place in 2002.

Apple introduced the iMac G4. The Department of Justice began an investigation into Enron. The New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. And “A Beautiful Mind” won Best Picture at the 74th Academy Awards.

And in 2002, Island Fitness began breaking a sweat on Bainbridge Island.

This month, the popular fitness center celebrates its 10th anniversary.

The gym will hold an open house for its anniversary from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 to thank the members who have supported it over the past decade, and the community it serves as a whole.

“We will have a nice layout of food and drinks, there will be fitness demonstrations, and also we are giving away a lot of prizes,” said Island Fitness co-owner Michael Rosenthal.

“We’ve been giving away a lot of raffle tickets,” he added. “The grand prize will be an iPad, and there will be other prizes from local businesses.”

A decade ago, the island’s gym scene was a lot slimmer, too. Michael, a part-time commercial fisherman, and his wife Alexa came across an opportunity to take over fitness equipment from a failed business.

All the pieces seemed to fall into place.

“Michael and I knew we would work really well together,” Alexa Rosenthal said. “And I was working in the fitness industry; it’s something I’ve been very passionate about.”

“The community piece was big for us; we wanted to do something for Bainbridge Island,” she added. “And it was needed, there weren’t any fitness businesses on the island.”

Island Fitness wasn’t just the new gym in town, it was the only club of its kind around. Since then, however, the island has experienced an explosion of fitness services from gyms to yoga and personal trainers.

Island Fitness was clearly ahead of the game.

“What I marvel at, is when we opened this club 10 years ago, we were the only fitness facility in town,” Michael Rosenthal said. “And now there are three gyms, and 15 different studios. It’s amazing to me and it’s really cool.”

Despite new competition coming onto the gym scene, Island Fitness has remained at the tip of islander’s tongues when it comes to healthy living on Bainbridge. It has become an indispensable resource for fitness on the island and now they have 10 years to back it up.

“I think we have spent 10 years working really hard to be the best at what we do,” Alexa Rosenthal said. “We know what are doing, and the staff are the top of the industry; they can go anywhere, but they’re here.”

She credits their priority of having a great staff that enjoys working at Island Fitness. Some have even worked steadily over five years at the gym.

Michael Rosenthal agrees with his wife but adds that the gym also makes it a priority to stay at the forefront of healthy living.

“We’re always out front, we’re always looking to try new things,” he said. “It can be challenging for people to put in the time. We are always trying to bring in new things to keep people’s interest up,” he said

Trying new things is putting it lightly. Island Fitness is extensive. Most islanders have come to know the business by the line of windows along Madison Avenue, displaying their neighbors working out. But the building extends far back beyond the glass where rooms dedicated to pilates, yoga, spin classes, weights, TRX training, a variety of classes and more. It is all included in the membership.

With a plethora of offerings, staff, and plenty of passion, both owners strive to pinpoint what the secret to their success is, or what makes their gym so unique. It always comes down to one common factor.

“The most important thing is the community,” Alexa Rosenthal said. “We feel a lot of support from the community.”

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