Hancock County

Planet Fitness is opening a gym in Hancock County. Here are the details.

Hancock County is getting a new gym early next year, and it’ll be the first of its kind in Waveland, Mayor Mike Smith said Tuesday.

Planet Fitness is opening a location in a shopping center on U.S. 90. Smith said the full-service gym will be between Goodwill and Auto Zone.

The Waveland location is expected to open in early January, Smith said.

The gym franchise offers machines, free weights, hydro-massage beds and tanning. There are different membership levels starting at $10 per month.

“I’m very excited about it coming,” Smith said.

Planet Fitness will be the first franchise exercise facility of its kind in Waveland. There are locations in Gulfport, Biloxi and Ocean Springs.

Smith said Waveland has been growing over the last five years, and the city has been looking at data to identify opportunities to bring more big business to the city.

The building department has been working with Planet Fitness to get permits in order, Smith said. The renovation for the 15,000 square feet space is slated to cost about $850,000.

“That’s amazing for our little city,” Smith said.

There are several locally owned gyms and yoga studios in Hancock County. There are also a few Crossfit gyms.

Smith said he hasn’t heard of any complaints from residents or business owners.

“I don’t believe it’s going to hurt them,” Smith said. “They have their clientele already. I think this is going to bring people into the fitness arena that’s not tied to another gym.”

Rah’s Gym on St. John Street in Bay St. Louis isn’t too concerned about a chain coming to Hancock County, the business said in a Facebook post.

“Meat heads and everyone else that trains hard comes here! #shoplocal #sweatlocal,” the post said.

Rah’s, owned by Raoul Boughton, has a smoothie bar and offers personal training and is soon opening a Crossfit-style space called The Box.

Boughton opened his gym in Waveland two years ago but relocated near Old Town Bay St. Louis last year.

“I’m not worried about Planet Fitness coming to town,” Boughton told the Sun Herald. “We are a community, a community of lifters and fitness enthusiast that actually put in the work and strive to better themselves.

“We grunt, talk smack, drink out of gallon jugs and, as always, lift heavy. I’m pretty sure you can’t do that at Planet Fitness.”

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Justin Mitchell is the southern regional growth editor for the Biloxi Sun Herald, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer and Macon Telegraph. He also reports on LGBTQ issues in the Deep South, particularly focusing on Mississippi.