Blink Fitness opens its doors on Dempster Street


Zoe Malin/Daily Senior Staffer

Blink Fitness’ new Evanston location offers dozens of cardio machines for members to use. It also has free weights and personal training sessions.

Zoe Malin, Reporter

Evanston’s newest gym, Blink Fitness, aims to provide more than the hallmarks of a typical gym: a space to exercise the mind.

“Blink promotes our ‘mood above muscle’ philosophy, meaning focusing on not only the physical benefits, but also the mental aspect of working out,” said Matt Riley, Blink’s vice president of operations for the franchise. “It’s something the fitness industry was really missing and a mentality that’s overlooked a lot.”

The 16,660 square-foot space is located at 1926 Dempster St. It opened Sept. 20.

Blink’s “mood above muscle” philosophy is what drew co-owners Tom Shumaker, an Evanston resident, and Draymond Green, a three-time NBA Champion with the Golden State Warriors, to the company. Shumaker and Green own all Blink Fitness franchises across the northern region of Chicago and in Michigan. They decided to open a Blink location in Evanston because they felt there was a need for a “premium, affordable fitness center in this part of town.” 

Riley said Blink Fitness stands out among its competition for its “feel-good experience.” 

He said the gym has friendly staff, plays upbeat music and is always clean. The walls of the space are specifically painted royal blue and orange, he added, because the colors are scientifically proven to boost people’s mood. Encouraging employees — called “Mood Lifters” —  also greet members as they enter the gym.

 Blink Fitness offers three different types of memberships, ranging in price from $15 to $27 per month. In addition to the price of the memberships, gym-goers pay an annual $49.99 maintenance fee. Riley said the blue membership, which is $22 per month, is the most popular because it offers the most perks, such as unlimited guest privileges, reciprocal access to Blink locations nationwide and the ability to use the Blink Fitness Mobile App. 

Regardless of their membership, all gym-goers receive a free one-hour personal training session when they join Blink. Certified personal trainers work with members to tailor exercise routines to their bodies, teach them how to use pieces of equipment and answer questions. Gina Marietti, Blink’s club manager, said the goal is to make members feel comfortable.

“People come in to the gym and don’t know what to do,” Marietti said. “They can feel intimidated, so the complimentary personal training hour is their chance to become acclimated to the space.” 

As Blink settles in to its new Evanston location, Shumaker said he looks forward to getting to know students, residents and other business owners in the area. 

According to a press release, the franchise has partnered with YWCA Evanston/North Shore to donate more than $10,000 worth of memberships to the organization. To Shumaker, partnerships like this are just one small way to support the community.

“I would be foolish to pass up such a great community business opportunity that’s located a mile from my house,” Shumaker said. “Being able to invest in Evanston and in Evanston jobs is really exciting.”

This story was updated on Sept. 25 to clarify Matt Riley’s position.

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