Originally from Upstate New York, Roni Turner, owner and founder of Body by Roni Fitness & Day Spa, moved to Central Florida about 30 years ago. Her best friend was living in Lake Mary and Turner couldn't think of a better place to live. From 1989 until 2008, Turner worked as a personal trainer for large fitness centers, such as World Gym, and for small mom and pop type gyms. At the age of 36, with encouragement from friends and colleagues, she made a decision to take her fitness, and subsequently her career, to the next level.
"I was working at World Gym at the time and, as people started to see the changes I was making to my body, they encouraged me to compete in the Seminole Classic Body Building Competition," she said. "I hired a nutritionist and started training. Three months later, I won the entire thing. After one more competition, which resulted in a 1st runner-up finish in my weight class, I shifted my focus back to showing other people how to be healthy and still look great while having a social life. It was time to do my own thing."
In 2008, Turner hired a consultant to prepare a business plan, she identified and secured a space to rent, purchased equipment, took care of licensing and, within eight months of deciding to start her own fitness studio and day spa, she was open for business. As Turner shared, it was period of mixed emotions in a very challenging market.
"I was super excited, but also scared at the same time," she said. "I really had no idea what I was doing. We were also dealing with the economic crisis. It was a struggle at first, but I kept at it. I did extra marketing and had some clients follow me, so that helped. Another challenge was keeping the day spa consistent and learning what services to offer and how to staff that."
Four years ago, Turner moved into a new location and re-defined her offerings. In addition to personal training and massage, she provides Ionic Chi Foot Detox, a treatment designed to pull harmful toxins from the body, Far-Infrared Sauna and Whole Body Vibration, a machine originally designed to combat muscle atrophy that increases lean muscle mass and helps with circulation.
Through extensive networking and by joining numerous organizations, including the Sanford Chamber and the Ladies 327 Supper Club, Turner has built one of Central Florida's premier personal training and fitness studios. As she explained, her clients are attracted to her brand of fitness for very specific reasons.
"We're a small private club," she said. "It's a very intimate setting. Our clients are given their own private code and never have to worry about waiting in line. The space is comfortable and homey. Clients can sign up for personal training or utilize a standard membership. It's a space where we get to make our clients look and feel like they deserve."
Looking ahead, Turner is focused on the growth of her primary business, but would also like to expand her nutritional supplement business. As an independent consultant with LE-VEL, Turner is able to share the importance of supplements and proper nutrition with her clients. The brand's flagship product, THRIVE, is an 8-week premium lifestyle system designed to enhance physical and mental health levels.
What advice does Turner have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Pick a field that won't go out of style," she said. "Everyone always wants to get healthy, feel good, get their hair done and look good. These are areas where there will always be demand. Do your research and pick something with longevity. Lastly, trust your gut when it comes to business decisions."