Design Dialogue with Diane Knutson
NEST Designs loves connecting with business leaders in Rapid City! We’re always amazed to learn what their vision for their workspaces means for them and their clients or customers.
We recently visited Koko Fit Club on Sheridan Lake Road and spoke to franchise owner Diane Knutson. With 2000 square feet of fitness areas (plus an office, storage and changing rooms), Diane knows that atmosphere is everything. Everything is strategically placed, down to where the electrical outlets are placed. Diane admits, “It takes a lot of effort not to let things get cluttered. Even signage and shelving is kept to a minimum and strategically placed. Everything contributes to the overall experience so that members feel more at ease and focused on their workout.”
Diane worked with a designer when they opened seven years ago. Acoustics were an important consideration. As Diane explained, “We don’t want any area to be too loud or too quiet. We went with a professional designer because we felt it was important to have the perspective of someone who did this for a living. Our designer took time to understand our needs and what the functionality of this space was, even down to where the power outlets should be placed.”
Koko is open 365 days a year, from 4am to midnight, and location is key. Located in Autumn Hills Plaza, north of Catron Boulevard, Koko has convenient parking with easy access and street visibility – which contributes to their success. “There’s too many excuses not to work out,” Diane shared. “We don’t want location to be another excuse. We want you to think of this as a ‘fitness oasis’.”
Creating a ‘fitness oasis’ feel included adding living plants and photographs of regional scenery, courtesy of Erica Lane Photography. Erica also provided photographs of the night sky, a passion project for Diane who heads a local chapter of the International Dark Sky Movement. Koko uses full cutoff exterior light fixtures to prevent light pollution. They also converted all their interior lighting to LED’s last year to be more energy efficient.
Diane’s own style is modern rustic and her favorite spot in the Black Hills is Founder’s Park, because of their Dark Sky compliant lighting. “I think it’s the best lighting in town. It doesn’t glare at you and you get to enjoy the volleyball courts. They did a great job with the lights in incorporating both functional use and creating beauty.”
Diane’s passion for the environment extends to Koko. They use essential oils to clean, a far cry from many other gym franchises. As Diane remembered, “I once saw a job ad for another gym and the ad said that employees would be exposed to harsh, damaging chemicals. I don’t want my employees or members exposed to that. I want to support people’s health in all aspects of the gym experience.”
Learn more about Koko by visiting http://rapidcity.kokofitclub.com/