Since 1977, we’ve been demonstrating The Power of Women.
This October, we are celebrating our anniversary and our right to exist. The challenges we’ve overcome have made us stronger than ever. For instance, in 1997, a man sued Healthworks claiming that an all-women’s club was discriminatory. Our members and our staff worked hard in court to fight for our right to exist. While we lost in court, in 1998, Governor Paul Celucchi signs into law allowing single-sex clubs to operate.
Healthworks is more than a gym. We are a community of strong and empowered women. And we’re here to stay!
Let’s Take a Walk Down Memory Lane:
October 30, 1977
Light n’ Lovely opens in Salem
Salem location renamed Healthworks
Healthworks Cambridge opens at original location in Porter Square
“Healthworks had only two locations: the mother ship in Salem, and our ‘under Tag’s Hardware’ location at Porter Square. We were two small strip mall locations, both with a very neighborhood feel.” —Jenny Briggs, personal trainer at the Cambridge club. Jenny wrote this in 2012 after 20 years with the company; she started with Healthworks in early 1992.
“The ceiling was so low that when we brought in an assisted pull-up machine, a ceiling tile had to be taken out and your head went into the ceiling!” —Mark Harrington Jr., Healthworks executive director
Healthworks Brookline opens on Commonwealth Avenue
Healthworks Back Bay opens in Copley Square
James Foster sues Healthworks to become a member of the all-women’s club
Healthworks’ 20th anniversary
Suffolk Superior Court judge rules that Back Bay cannot bar men
“The possibility that men would intimidate, harass and leer at female club members was not enough to justify a contention that the women’s privacy would be violated, Judge Nonnie S. Burnes wrote in her decision. ‘Absent the unclothed exposure of intimate body parts, or the touching of body parts by members of the opposite sex, this court can find no basis for overriding the public accommodations statute’s mandate,’ she wrote.
“If that was the law, responded Mr. Harrington and others defending the nearly 50,000 Massachusetts women who belong to women-only clubs, the law had to be changed. They took to the State House.” —Carey Goldberg, “Lawyer’s Suit Challenges Women-Only Gyms,” The New York Times, January 26, 1998.
Governor Paul Cellucci signs new law allowing single-sex clubs to operate
“…Foster may have won the battle, but he did not win the war. A bill was quickly introduced in the Massachusetts House that allowed single-sex clubs to operate in that state, and in January 1998, Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci signed the bill into law.
“’In a lot of ways, it was very positive for us,’ says (Mark) Harrington, who has owned Healthworks since 1977. ‘It brought attention to the niche we had, the significance of it and how important it was to a lot of people.’”—Stuart Goldman, “Women-only Health Clubs Play Important Role for Members,” Club Industry, March 1, 2012.
Healthworks Foundation formed as a 501c3
Healthworks Cambridge moves to new building in parking lot of original club
“Despite operational challenges, it was the strong team that worked together to provide a home away from home for ourmembers and coworkers that made every day so enjoyable. It always felt like a family and still makes me smile,” —Beth Gaudet, former Healthworks manager, and director
Healthworks Foundation opens first club at St. Mary’s
Healthworks Chestnut Hill opens
“The positives were memorable—the immediate success and acceptance, with members signing up in the parking lot trailer. The great team who knew not only every member’s name but all the family news that went along with creating relationships,”—Healthworks cofounder Mark Harrington Sr.
Healthworks Community Fitness at Codman opens
Healthworks Brookline relocates to new club in Coolidge Corner
GymIt brand formed; first location opens in Brookline
GymIt Watertown opens
Healthworks Group refocuses on premium clubs (Healthworks) and high-volume/low-cost clubs (GymIt). As a result, Salem location closes.
December 31, 2014
Republic Fitness brand formed; first club opens
First Fitness Management formed, specializing in the design and management of fitness centers for corporations, property managers, and institutions.
Where Are We Today?
-Four Healthworks locations
-Two GymIts locations
-One Republic Fitness location
-Two Healthworks Community Fitness locations
-Twelve First Fitness Management sites
-Boston’s leading locally owned fitness business
“It is amazing to think of how social media and the internet have changed how everything operates. Healthworks has always kept up with the latest equipment, classes, programming, volunteering opportunities, outreach, and technology.
“It has been quite a ride. My thanks to a great company.” —Jenny Briggs