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Ventura County Star (California)
When Food 4 Less in Oxnard moved to a new location next door, it left a big piece of property on Esplanade Drive that piqued the interests of the Banos brothers.
Angel and Willy Banos own 18 Gold's Gym locations in Southern California from Santa Barbara to Orange County, including ones in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. They consider Oxnard to be a void.
So the business partners pursued the opening of the third Gold's Gym in Ventura County. The two are still getting the proper permits but are eyeing an opening in March or April of next year. Presale memberships are slated to begin in October.
The brothers are not associated with the former Oxnard Gold's Gym on Gonzales Road, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013.
At 42,000 square feet with 5,000 more square feet of outdoor space, the new gym will feature high-tech equipment, fitness classes, a day-care center and an outdoor pool.
"We're not coming in to test the waters. We're coming out strong," said Willy Banos, vice president and chief operating officer for the gym.
An Oxnard resident, he's been in the gym business for decades with his brother Angel, who is the chief executive officer. The two opened their first Gold's Gym location in North Hollywood more than 30 years ago, and it's still operating today.
At the time, the gym had cardio and weight equipment, free weights, lockers and not much else. It didn't even have a cleaning crew.
"We sold memberships, vacuumed during the day. It was very grass roots," Willy Banos said.
"He closed the gym; I opened it," Angel Banos said.
The brothers are Cuban-Americans who grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Angel Banos, 64, is the athletic one, playing baseball and football at school and lifting weights at a private gym at the age of 14.
Today, his 90-minute exercise routine six or seven days a week is the same it has been for decades - stretching at the start and end with cardio and weight sessions led by a personal trainer.
Angel Banos believes a regular routine at a gym like Gold's can do miracles.
"We prevent people from aging and going to hospitals," he said.
Willy Banos' routine is a bit less intense.
"I'm more the eater of the family," said Willy Banos, 50. "My brother is the epitome of fitness, I'm the epitome of normal."
He said he struggles to get to the gym every day but manages to go two to four times a week. Like his brother, Willy Banos uses a personal trainer to push him to do that extra burpie.
Like other locations, the new gym will offer a range of classes from cycling to circuit training. Some classes target seniors.
Parents can drop their children off at "Kids Club," a day-care space with turf and enough room for soccer and basketball games.
"We're moving away from what they're already doing at home," Willy Banos said.
But for children who want to play video games, there are those, too.
For those who are not familiar with the Gold's Gym brand, Willy Banos said the reputation that it's a space for male body builders remains. But the gym is much more than that, he said, a full-service fitness center with characteristics of a boutique gym.
About 40 percent of members are women. At some locations, nearly half are women.
The two are excited to open in Oxnard, where Willy Banos has been living for the past year at Seabridge. Angel Banos, who lives in Santa Barbara, said they plan on being involved with schools, armed forces, local charities and community events.
"We plan to be full spectrum and embed in the community," Angel Banos said.
Willy Banos said it's important to support the community whether it's a beach clean-up or helping the needy.
"That will help us be the 50-year-old brand with heritage," Willy Banos said.
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