There's a reason why Reid Bradley has not visited his Anytime Fitness club that was damaged by last week's tornado in Moore, OK. Actually, it's a 7-pound, 4-ounce reason.
When the category EF-5 tornado struck Moore on May 20, Bradley's wife, Bethany, was 40 weeks pregnant and was due to give birth any day. Thanks to the digital age, Bradley, who lives in Minneapolis, has viewed photos of the club and was able to face-time to see the club on video. He contacted several of the club's 1,400 members within a few days.
Bradley took over the Moore club in December 2012. Normally, he flies to Moore, an Oklahoma City suburb, every other week. Bradley also is the franchisee of two clubs in St. Paul, MN, one of which will open soon.
Club staff and members had about 15 minutes to evacuate before the tornado hit around 2 p.m., which luckily was not a peak time for the club. Two managers hunkered down in a vault in a nearby jewelry store.
No injuries were reported, but Bradley talked to a member the other day whose family lost everything, including their house and possessions.
"And they're just happy that they have each other," he says. "With Moore, everyone in the town is concerned about everyone else. Repairing houses, or seeing damages or lost belongings, no one really cares about that the first three days. You sit there knowing that your gym has hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage, but it's really not the most important thing."
Debris from the mile-and-a-half-wide tornado found its way into the parking lot of the club's strip mall, which was littered with high heels and a chainsaw, of all things. The strip mall building itself also had several sharp nails stuck to the exterior and roof, Bradley says.
Two days after the tornado, the club avoided major damage when heavy rains pounded on top of the damaged roof, which already was full of holes. Carpet and some treadmills were removed and cleaned, preventing an additional $50,000 worth of damage, Bradley says. Because of a good landlord, Bradley says his club received early attention and estimates from insurance companies.
Dues for Moore Anytime Fitness members are frozen, Bradley adds, and members can use any of the more than dozen Anytime Fitness clubs in the Oklahoma City area.
Late last week, Bradley helped load trucks full of relief items at the Anytime Fitness corporate office in nearby Hastings, MN. When the trucks arrived on Saturday, the club held a "party" of sorts, which about 100 members attended. The day before, Bradley thought about flying down to attend the party and talk to insurance agents but decided not to go.
That was a good decision. On that Saturday, Duncan Bradley was born, joining older sister June. Once things settle down in the Bradley household and the club is ready to reopen in a few weeks, Reid will be there in person. Finally.
"Life," he said as he reflected on his week, "got busy really quickly."