“It's about me getting healthy and losing some of this excess weight,” Lawson told the Associated Press. “And I like the idea of being able to work out and shop in one trip.”
Maine-based Hannaford insists the 5,600-square-foot health facility that opened in October is not part of some shrewd marketing campaign. The Albany store is the only one in the 184-store chain with such a gym, and there are no plans for more.
The idea grew out of a meeting last summer between Hannaford, the local YMCA and Capital District Physicians' Health Plan. All said their goal was to come up with something to improve the area's health while also being convenient, accessible and free. The store had the space after a recent remodeling, and the Healthy Living Center was born with a goal to target obesity and diabetes.
The center has a personal trainer provided by the YMCA, a healthcare associate from CDPHP to answer questions and enroll new customers, and a Hannaford registered dietitian to offer advice on healthy eating.
Store manager Dave Farrell, an admitted “exercise fool” who has dropped 86 pounds in the past year, said gym goers don't have to shop in the store—they just fill out paperwork on the first visit and are given fobs to swipe when they stop by.
So far, just over 1,100 people have signed up, and the exercise classes are packed.
“Obviously, we've had people use it who weren't customers and have decided to shop in the store,” Farrell said. “It's definitely a win for us, but that wasn't the goal.”