Accident Set Business Owner on Different Trajectory - TribPapers

Accident Set Business Owner on Different Trajectory

Jeff Flynn inside his new No Bros gym. Photo by Clint Parker.

Weaverville – An auto accident changed the life of a promising young athlete, which led to that athlete helping many area residents in rehabilitation and getting fit.

As a high school student, Jeff Flynn, the owner of Flynn’s Fitness Gym, was headed to a ball game that he was to play when he was in an accident that killed his best friend, who was driving. The accident left him seriously injured, to the point where doctors said he’d never walk again. “I was supposed to have played pro baseball and pro basketball. I could have played either one in school,” said the Madison High School standout. “But I was on my way to a basketball game against North Buncombe, and my friend had gotten a car…we were getting ready to go… I decided to go with him.” 

Just three miles from Jeff’s house, they wrecked. The accident left Jeff’s friend dead, and “I was told that I would never walk again,” said Flynn.

“My whole dream and my whole plan since I was a little kid was to play… professionally. And without a doubt, I knew I would. I knew I was that good,” explained Flynn. “Then it all 360’ed and got taken from me.” He went on to say, “Don’t get me wrong, I know it wasn’t my time, and I’m very thankful I’m alive. I’ve never held any regrets. I’ve been nothing but thankful.”

“I rehabilitated myself, that’s how I got started in doing personal training and starting the gym because when I was training and trying to get strong, everybody started coming up to me and asking how do you do this and how you do that. So I was like, ‘Heck, I ought to become a personal trainer.'” The Madison native went on to say, “My path was to help people and to rehabilitate people. I guess that was my calling. That’s when I decided to go into personal training.”

Jeff said he might have been able to play sports after the accident, but between losing his best friend, the pain left by his injuries, and the loss of focus in his life, it was not to be. “Through weights and the gym, that’s how I got everything back together.” 

That was nearly four decades ago. Flynn, who has been in business for 31 years, started his business at The Little Mall Plaza (formerly North Woodland Shopping Center) on Hwy 19/23 in the back of a tanning bed in 1992. “I started with a couple of machines and some dumbbells. I just moved up, got a bigger place and added a few pieces. Went up and added a few more pieces.”

In 1999, he moved to the Tri-City Plaza on North Main Street in Weaverville and has expanded several times since moving to the Tri-City location. “My goal was when Poppy’s (now CA’s) was open, they’d come out of Poppy’s full and they’d say, ‘Heck, I need a gym to work out in, and they would see my gym,'” Jeff said with a laugh. “So it was small, and I struggled there, and it was not until I moved next door that I started doing better.”

Flynn, just this month, opened his “No Bros” all-female gym next to his current gym and joined his girlfriend, Tonya Parker, in buying the tanning salon on the other side of his business, Beyond Bronze.

“A lot of women are kinda hesitant to work out around guys, and a lot think it’s a big guys’ gym for powerlifting and this, and they feel uncomfortable working out in it,” Flynn told the Tribune. So he decided to do an all women’s gym. 

He was telling some of his female clients about the new gym, and they asked, “We’re going to have a gym with no guys?” Jeff said, “No guys.” They said, “Are you sure?” He said, “I promise. No bros, no bros.” Then he thought, “That’s a good name.” Along with workout equipment, he will also have classes like Zumba and aerobics in the new No Bros gym.

He said that the tanning salon came up for sale, and he decided to go ahead and also buy the business with Tonya. He plans to do package deals with all three businesses.

Don’t think this is it for Jeff, as he has plans for a future center that will incorporate not just his three businesses but also chiropractors and physical therapists, like a wellness center.

Jeff said he believes his business has survived all these years by keeping his word. “I’ve always done things on a handshake, keeping my word and treating people well.”