HealthQuest Fitness Center celebrates 20th anniversary
Tony Giovannoni said that it was his own experiences at another health club that led to the genesis of HealthQuest.
“My brother-in-law and I were members of a racquet club. They had a weight room, but it wasn’t their primary focus. We always had the feeling that the exercise areas and the people who used them weren’t important,” Giovannoni said.
So the entrepreneur decided to take matters into his own hands and start his own health club. HealthQuest first opened in a defunct roller skating rink in the River Park Shopping Center in 1990.
“It was a crazy time” Giovannoni recalled. “My wife Julie was nine months pregnant when we opened, and she was working the reception counter.”
The first rendition of the club was successful, and it wasn’t long before thoughts of expansion entered the picture.
“The industry was changing. People wanted more variety, more classes, more options. We really wanted to find a spot where we would have the room to address all of those needs,” he said.
That opportunity presented itself when the Grossman’s Building Center property on California Blvd. came up for sale. “It was almost like it was made for us,” Giovannoni said.
HealthQuest recently celebrated its 20th business anniversary. Giovannoni estimates the facility has hosted more than five million workouts over the past two decades.
The club’s main workout room and its fitness studios still echo its warehouse past with exposed beams and 20-foot ceilings. The overall size of the building was increased to more than 20,000 square feet with second story mezzanines over the locker rooms and offices.
Outside, HealthQuest added two swimming pools, one dedicated to lap swimming and another used for aqua classes, therapy, and swimming lessons.
Giovannoni has seen plenty of changes in the way people exercise over the past 20 years. “Nautilus machines and high-impact aerobics were at their peak back when we were getting started, but both are now almost extinct. It’s important to continually adapt and to keep things fresh and exciting,” Giovannoni wrote.
What hasn’t changed is the business’s core principle, which is to offer “a warm, welcoming environment for exercisers of all ages and abilities.”
“We’ve always tried to foster a sense of community. People enjoy sharing their experiences with others who have similar interests,” Giovannoni said.
“Starting and then sticking with an exercise program isn’t easy,” he explained. “Our goal is to be supportive and to do everything we can to make sure our members have a positive experience and keep coming back.”
While the club offers a wide variety of fitness equipment, Giovannoni said that it’s the personal relationships that give the club a special feel.
“All the conversation and laughter you hear in the background seems to create a good vibe, a positive atmosphere. Many of our (team) have been together since the River Park days. We have over 1,200 members who have been coming here for at least 15 years. The level of familiarity we enjoy is something special.”
The long-term devotion HealthQuest has inspired in its clientele has allowed them to weather the recent financial downturn relatively unscathed.
“We found that the people who are really committed to their health, who know how much better being fit makes them feel, will give up almost anything else first,” Giovannoni said.
The business continues to grow. HealthQuest recently got the OK for a 13,000 square foot addition. Construction will begin immediately, including new locker rooms and dedicated rooms for spinning and yoga classes.
“We would like to be able to offer more fitness classes, and it’s time for a complete makeover inside and out,” he said.
“Exercise is the path to good health — I get to see the positive impact it can have every day. We’re continually finding more fun and efficient ways to bring it into people’s lives, and that’s incredibly rewarding.”
As published in the Napa Register