Y in Central Maryland Buys Big Vanilla Athletic Club

Larry Ray owner of Big Vanilla Athletic Club opened the Pasadena Maryland location in 2005 Photo courtesy Big Vanilla Athletic Club
<p>Larry Ray, owner of Big Vanilla Athletic Club, opened the Pasadena, Maryland, location in 2005. (Photo courtesy Big Vanilla Athletic Club.)</p>

Larry Ray, owner of Big Vanilla Athletic Club, Pasadena, Maryland, has sold his facility to the Y in Central Maryland three years after selling his Arnold, Maryland, location to the same Y. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal was announced in April, and the 80,000-square-foot club officially became the Y in Pasadena on May 23, according to a letter from Ray posted on the Big Vanilla website and a YMCA media release. The Y in Pasadena will be the 13th family center YMCA location in the Y in Central Maryland system and the second Y location in Anne Arundel County.

Ray opened the Pasadena location in 2005, but his affiliation with Big Vanilla began in 1978 when he started at Big Vanilla Arnold as a fitness instructor. He later "transformed Big Vanilla Arnold from a tennis and racquetball club into an organization focused on community service and improving the health of all members," Ray wrote in the letter to members on the Big Vanilla website.

"This transition allows me to practice what I preach – to live a more balanced life by spending more time with my family and friends, and to focus on other business interests that I have been associated with over the past five years," the letter stated.

One of those businesses is a business and property management company called Ray Management.

"I am proud to be placing the BV Pasadena-baton in the hands of the Y…a charitable, mission-driven organization that is community-centric and shares my values," Ray wrote.

John Hoey, president and CEO of Y in Central Maryland, said the Y in Pasadena will allow the Y to deepen already extensive cause-driven work in Anne Arundel County.

"The Y in Pasadena will be a hub for family and community gatherings, a place to relax and reconnect with family and friends as well as a place to be active and healthy in spirit, mind and body," Hoey said in a media release. "We look forward to working collaboratively with members, program participants, volunteers, associates and others across the community to deliver our charitable mission to as many people and families in the Pasadena and surrounding areas as possible. We are especially grateful to Larry Ray for his continued faith in the Y to build on the foundation he worked so hard to create. We are also grateful to the volunteer members of our Anne Arundel County Community Leadership Board who are such good stewards of our mission.”

Jill Black, vice president, Swim and Family Center Programming, Y in Central Maryland, is leading the Y's transition team at the Y in Pasadena on an interim basis while a search is underway for a long-term center director. Nicol Clark was appointed the Y in Pasadena's associate center director after serving in the same role at the Greater Annapolis Y. EJ Amyot, executive director, Greater Annapolis Y, is also supporting the transition. The Y said that a vast majority of Big Vanilla employees were invited to remain and become Y associates.

Ray sold his other 80,000-square-foot Big Vanilla Athletic Club location in 2013 to the Y in Central Maryland, and it became the Greater Annapolis Y. Terms of that deal were not disclosed.

Big Vanilla's parent company, BVP LLC, ranked No. 95 on Club Industry's Top 100 Health Clubs of 2015 with reported 2014 revenue of $5.43 million. A spokesperson for Ray shared with Club Industry that the company will not report its revenue for the 2016 list now that the facility has been sold. 

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