Longtime employees buy Anytime Fitness from Destrehan

Left to right: Brandon Hebert, Stephanie Hebert, Richard Oubre, Michelle Oubre, Daniell Jenkins and Dustin Jenkins.

Earlier this month, Destrehan’s Anytime Fitness opened its doors for the first time since Hurricane Ida caused extensive damage to the building, and at the end of the month the franchise’s longtime owner sold the business to two of her longtime employees.

Michelle Oubre was one of the owners who opened the fitness location a decade ago, and five years later she bought out the other co-owners.

“We celebrated ten years on January 7,” said Oubre. “My husband Richard and I decided after the storm it was time to sell it. Our plan was to sell it in about three years, but when something like Ida struck it made us slow down and think, and we knew now was the time to do it. I told Richard I would only agree to a sale if we could find the right people to take it on.”

The Oubres didn’t have to look far to find the perfect owner. Two long-time employees at the gym – Brandon Hebert and Daniell Nielsen Jenkins – signed papers this weekend to reach the same finals.

Oubre said she will still be in the gym weekly but is excited to have accepted a full-time remote job at Silver Sneakers.

“It’s just about time,” Oubre said. “It shows you how there is a silver lining in everything. Brandon and Daniell will be a perfect fit as leaders. I’m really looking forward to that. We’re a big family and I’m super excited for it to stay in the family…I couldn’t have had it any other way.”

Hebert has been with Oubre for a decade.

“I actually interviewed her at Anytime Fitness in Luling,” he said. “She brought me here (in Destrehan) and I helped assemble furniture and equipment here before they even opened the door.”

Hebert said his share of owning the gym was a dream come true.

“I’ve always wanted to own a gym, but I never knew I wanted an Anytime Fitness gym,” he said. “But once we started delving into their brand and purpose and what they stand for and how it’s all about living a better life by being healthy and happy…I knew it was a good fit.”

Hebert said his new step into the company’s leadership came with mixed feelings.

“It’s exciting and scary at the same time…just like I’m sure any business owner would say,” he said, laughing. “But taking the gym over the top is doing everything we’ve done before … just making people healthy and happy and going into the community to do great things.”

Hebert and Jenkins, now business partners, first met in 2012.

“Years ago, I coached Daniell after her husband, Brandon Nielsen, was killed in the line of duty,” Hebert said. “It’s crazy how it all connects in the end.”

Jenkins laughed when asked if she’d ever considered owning a gym.

“Oh, absolutely not,” she said. “It was a big leap for me to go from customer to employee. I never thought then that we would be here now… it’s quite extraordinary. In 2015 I became a trainer, but on October 3, 2012 I came in for the first time. I hadn’t exercised in years but all I remember is laying in bed one night and having the realization that I am everything my daughter had left… it was terrifying for me because I wasn’t taking care of myself have.”

Jenkins said that as she entered Anytime Fitness – the new gym in town that had just opened – she was shocked when Oubre told her she knew her story and wanted to gift her a membership and a year of free personal training.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just wanted to go for a walk on the treadmill,'” Jenkins said, laughing. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be here from there.”

Jenkins said she is excited to serve Destrehan and the local community. When she remarried in 2016, she moved to St. James Parish for her husband’s work, but said her heart remains in St. Charles Parish.

“I kept working here because I’m connected here … these are my people,” she said. “This community…when Brandon died…the community of St. Charles Parish literally picked my family up and carried us. Here is my heart Here are my people. I want to help these people.”

Both Hebert and Jenkins said they were honored to continue the work Oubre started.

“We want to take everything we’ve seen and learned over the past decade and move on, but bring our own twist and ideas,” Hebert said.

Jenkins agreed.

“We can’t wait to continue Michelle’s legacy,” she said.

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