by Amie Rodgers
When you meet Danny and Mary Lou Duran, you’ll become a believer in the benefits of fitness and maintaining an active lifestyle. In addition to their regular workout routines, this vivacious couple also enjoy a variety of activities including dancing, long walks, racquetball and just recently they realized their dream of opening their own hometown gym.
Danny and Mary Lou grew up in Holbrook and have fond memories of playing under the enormous cottonwoods that once lined the river. “Growing up, it was my Mississippi,” smiles Danny during our recent interview, “I read Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer when I was a kid. They were kind of like my idols growing up. Back then, there was a lot of water in the river here. When I wasn’t there, I spent a lot of time boxing. Everyone on our street had boxing gloves and we were always out in the yard sparring.”
Physical fitness has been a big part of this friendly couple’s lifestyle. When they moved to California they belonged to a number of gyms and when they later moved to Flagstaff, Danny worked at an athletic club there for a number of years. They moved back to Holbrook eight years ago to be closer to family. “Holbrook has always been home. I never thought I would have my own fitness gym here, but here we are,” says Danny, “We have overcome challenges and have appreciated all those who have stepped up to help us get this going. We have really appreciated the guidance we have received from NPC’s Small Business Development Center. Tracy is a great lady. We would very much recommend the Small Business Development Center to any business owner. They are an important resource for our community.”
Thanks to a little help from NPC’s SBDC, Danny and Mary Lou are excited to also provide a much needed resource for their community: a gym with enough equipment for everyone. “We are open from 6 am to 10 pm with a good variety of equipment. We have enough equipment here to keep at least a dozen people busy at once,” grins Danny, “We keep everything clean, picked up and put away. We are striving to give people a better small town gym experience. I also want to help people in their sixties and seventies not be intimidated by the equipment. A lot of the equipment we have here is older person friendly and ladies friendly. We look forward to adding more equipment too. We have only been open about two weeks, but we already have fifteen members.”
Monthly membership is just $20 and discounts are offered to veterans and military personnel in honor of Danny’s brothers. “My family has given a lot to this country. I’ve had two brothers killed in two wars. They were just teenagers. One died in the beginning of the second World War. My brother Pete was fighting the Germans in North Africa. My brother Jake was sent to the Philippines to fight the Japanese and my brother Tony died in the Korean conflict. We have dedicated this gym to his memory and my family’s contributions to our country,” noted Danny.
Given Danny and Mary Lou’s excellent health and longevity, I asked Danny if he had any advice he would like to share. “Physical fitness has been good to me. I think longevity is a combination of a lot of things: diet, exercise, your mental health. It is important to have stress relieving activities like going to dances and being social. I’m not saying exercise is a cure all, but for us it seems to work. I think the human race is going through change and people are realizing that diet and exercise has a lot to do with how they feel. Of course, when the Big Guy says it is your time to go, it’s your time. You can’t say, ‘But I’ve been eating my vegetables, Lord so do you think you could spare me?’” laughs Danny, “Living well is more important than living forever in my opinion. If you are looking to improve your health, fitness is definitely an excellent place to start. With that said, we want to invite everyone to come in, check us out and see what we are about. We are offering a free introductory work out to everyone who comes in so stop by and work out with us.”
For more information, please call (928) 313-0661 or stop by the gym at 152 N. Navajo Boulevard in Holbrook. Are you thinking of starting your own business or could use some guidance with your existing company? NPC’s Small Business Development Center is here to help with no cost services to local business owners. For more information, please call (928) 532-6170 or visit www.npc.edu/sbdc. Your business will thank you.