New owner has big plans

Curves in Fort Dodge has a new owner.

When Angela Jessen took the helm of the Fort Dodge Curves franchise on Nov. 1, 2013, she became part of an entrepreneurial success story.

The company started in 1992 in Harlingen, Texas, by Gary Heavin has become a massive player in the fitness world. According to information provided by the company, there are now thousands of Curves locations not only in the United States, but also in many other countries. Curves in Fort Dodge is just south of the downtown business district at 125 S. Third St.

Curves offers an approach to health and fitness that is designed to meet the diverse needs of adult women of all ages, according to Jessen. She said the carefully designed Curves workout can be fine-tuned to meet the requirements of just about any woman.

“It’s exclusively for women,” Jessen explained. “There is a 30-minute workout, strength training, cardio, a little of everything.”

The Curves Circuit consists of a series of hydraulic-resistance machines that are designed to work every major muscle group and provide a full-body workout in just a half hour.

Jessen said the company recommends completing the circuit training three times each week. She said, however, some members visit Curves more often.

While the Curves Circuit designed to be a personal workout is at the heart of the system, some classes are offered to increase the appeal to a diverse clientele.

“We also offer the Curves Circuit with Zumba dancing,” Jessen said. “Then we have workouts with Jillian Michaels on video, which are new this year.”

Membership in Curves is open to women age 18 or older. Jessen said the approximately 150 members of Curves in Fort Dodge are a diverse cross-section of the community.

“From 18 all the way up to 83 or 84,” she said. “We have a big variety. We have a lot of younger people. We have a lot of older people. It works really well because the workouts are designed for everybody.”

Getting and staying fit at Curves is appealing because the approach is an efficient use of the member’s time and is enjoyable, Jessen said.

“It’s really fun environment,” she said. “It’s a great way to get strength training and cardio and it’s just 30 minutes. It’s not boring. You are not standing on a treadmill for 20 minutes or 30 minutes. You are hopping from machine to machine. The time goes by so fast.”

Being part of the Curves family also leads to rewarding social interactions, according to Jessen.

“You meet a lot of nice people down here,” she said. “Everybody gets along just great. You make friends really easily here.”

Strong evidence for the accuracy of that assertion and the effectiveness of the workout is the member retention at Curves.

“I have a lot of members here who have been here for years,” Jessen said.

Meet the new owner

Jessen is a lifelong Fort Dodger. She graduated from St. Edmond High School in 1992, then attended Iowa Central Community College and in 1995 received an associate degree.

The decision to purchase Curves in Fort Dodge was prompted by an advertisement.

“I saw the ad in the paper last summer,” Jessen said. “I had been looking for a different opportunity. I’ve always wanted my own business. It was a perfect fit for me. Instantly, I knew I was interested.”

Having now been at the helm for just a bit more than five months, she said the decision to undertake this business venture was a superb choice.

“I just absolutely love what I do,” Jessen said. “I love helping people. I work with roughly 150 amazing women. Everybody is nice. Everybody has their own story. I love being my own boss. It’s a fun environment. The music is on all day. Everybody is working out. They are talking. Everybody is having a good time. And I get to do this every day.”

Jessen said her immediate goal for the business is to expand its membership.

“Curves has been in town for a long time,” she said. “There should be a lot more members than there are now. It is a strong company and everybody knows about Curves. Curves International is adding new things all the time to keep people interested. I need to promote and grow.”