The 24,770 square foot site in Faulkner Plaza Shopping Center where people used to fill up on movie theater popcorn is being transformed into Conway’s first Planet Fitness.

Planet Fitness is known for its "Judgement Free Zone" that allows gym members to relax, get in shape and have fun without being subjected to the "hard-core, look-at-me attitude" that exists in too many gyms.

The company caters to the everyday person who may go to the gym once a month through a fun environment of bright purple and yellow gym equipment, pizza nights and bagel mornings.

Planet Fitness has been named one of the fastest growing franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine. Since its inception in 1992, Planet Fitness has grown to include more than 800 locations nationwide. More than 90 percent of those locations are franchisee-owned, said Ken Horn, marketing and PR manger of Planet Fitness.

Rick Kueber, managing member of Planet Fitness Arkansas, has bought the franchisee rights to more than 20 counties in Arkansas including Faulkner and Pulaski.

The Conway location is one of five to six the investment group plans to build in the state. They are also opening locations in Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

Kueber said he’s getting familiar with Arkansas and based on location and population counts, thinks Conway will be a great place for Planet Fitness.

"Over 80 percent of our members have never been to a gym before," he said. "[Conway] is a good place to increase healthy living habits."

Kueber said the old movie theater was the right location for Planet Fitness because he felt there was great co-tenancy and good visibility off the interstate.

Another thing that sets Planet Fitness apart, Horn said, is that unlike some gyms that are open around the clock, Planet Fitness is staffed 24/7.

"This is a huge point of separation for us," Horn said. "Safety is very important to us."

As the City of Colleges, Kueber said, many college students usually have some kind of membership included in tuition, but Planet Fitness will offer them a different type of gym that is open band staffed 24/7.

Planet Fitness will offer a high quality selection of cardio equipment such as treadmills, ellipticals, arc trainers and stationary bikes connected to an entertainment system of widescreen HDTVs.

Upper and lower body strength machines, a 30-minute Planet Fitness Express circuit and a 12-minute ab circuit are also featured.

Committed to helping people of various fitness levels, clubs have a "Lunk Alarm," which is an actual beacon light and siren intended to deter members from egotistical weightlifting behavior.

The Conway location will include a Planet Fitness Spa with multi-level tanning, Total Body Enhancement Therapy and HydroMassage beds and massage chairs. A full locker facility with showers will also be onsite.

Membership starts at $10 a month, or members can opt for a Black Card, which enables unlimited use of tanning beds and massage services for $19.99.

A Planet Fitness facility typically employees six to eight full-time positions and 15-20 part-time positions, Horn said.

As the gym nears completion, Horn said, Planet Fitness will have team members on site giving the community an orientation with photos and videos to show what the gym will offer.

Horn anticipates pre-sale membership promotions to begin on or around Nov. 1 with a tentative opening date of Dec. 1. For more information about Planet Fitness visit

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at