New Owners Take Over Pac

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Louise and Kent Echols, longtime residents of the area, and early members of the Payson Athletic Club, took over ownership of the facility March 1.

Between the two of them, the Echols have spent a combined 34 years in Payson. Kent's been here since 1990 and Louise has lived in the community about 20 years.

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The new owners, staff and members of the Payson Athletic Club want the facility to be known for its family-oriented atmosphere. Visit PAC and talk with, back row, from left Don Gusimat, member, Jon Beeson, front desk, Kent Echols, owner, Mandi Mamero, front desk, Louise Echols, owner, Dave Pirtle, front desk and trainer; or, front from left, Nina Ray, instructor and trainer, Marci Sanders, manager.

Buying the Payson Athletic Club is a first-of-its kind venture for the couple.

"We enjoy people and exercise," Kent said.

"We love the club," Louise said. "We're people people and love exercise. We thought we could do something to help the community (by buying PAC)."

While the Echols have only owned PAC a short time, they are already making plans for changes.

"We're going to do equipment upgrades," Kent said.

"We'll be extending child care to Saturdays May 1," Louise added.

The couple is working with the Mogollon Health Alliance to add equipment and expand the MHAXIII program offered at the athletic club, which is specially designed for the physical rehabilitation of persons with cardiopulmonary problems.

"We're upgrading the tanning facility," manager Marci Sanders said.

"Our priority is a clean gym and customer satisfaction," Kent said.

"We're providing an opportunity for the whole family to enjoy the entire facility with special discounts," Louise said.

She said there also are corporate discounts for businesses.

In the near future another change to look for is a retail operation, which will carry such things as fitness drinks and protein bars, clothing and accessories.

The classes are changing as well. A "boxercize" class is being added and the aqua aerobic program will resume in May.

"Our goal is to have a healthy community," Louise said.

"Our employees are active in the community," she said. "They care about our members and always go the extra mile to help people. They make the club successful.

"We invite anyone to come in so we can help them reach their (fitness) goals."

Payson Athletic Club, at 400 East Highway 260, is open from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday.

For more information, call (928) 474-0916.

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