Risk and reward: finding the right balance


Marie McComas

Model A Fitness is packed with plenty of machines to help you get in shape. After 18-years Marie McComas worked her way up to this level of gym.

Jessica Fannin, Reporter

     Mrs. Marie McComas is a North Harford graduate who is known as “the jack of all trades,” juggling many different businesses including “Model A Fitness, house flipping, and rental maintenance.” Her husband works in the, “nuclear power field.” 

   McComas said “taking risks, but balance risks,” is important along with giving, “120% on every job.” The NH alumni said building a gym like Model A Fitness, “in the middle of nowhere was a huge risk.” She told her husband, Darin, that if they “could not afford to buy all brand new equipment at the 15-year mark,” she was going to consider closing the gym. 

     Starting, they “found buildings off Main Street in Delta,” and they, “quickly had an agreement to buy the original Model A Ford Dealership from Len Nelson.”

     But after not being able “to come to an agreement with Len on moving out,” they had to walk away from the project there. They were, “very disappointed […] mostly because people were counting on a gym coming to town.” McComas did not stop there and recommended to her husband, “let’s build one.” She described how they, “began writing a business plan to present to the bank, and here […] [they] are 18 years later.”

     When it comes to having a balance in running the business, McComas adds that it is hard at the first. She explained, “You don’t in the beginning- the business has to come first. Darin continued to work out of town, and […] [she] ran the daily operation. But if both of you understand the commitment that is needed, you can do anything.” They, “both realized […] [they] were building a future,” and that at the time they, “must do what had to be done. And sometimes that meant giving up the balance.”

     McComas calls herself a “social butterfly,” explaining how they, “are such a huge part of the community and love getting to know the members.” She also added that, “fitness people tend to become a family of their own.” For McComas, the gym offered her, “the opportunity to have a business and a huge family all in one.”

      According to McComas, another positive take away from the business is the, “opportunity to shine.” Due to her husband still working in the nuclear power field everything was done with her, “artistic talents.”

      The couple took a lot of the knowledge about entrepreneurship from their parents and applied it to the many businesses they still run. They knew they “wanted something bigger for their kids,” and that “you’re only young once,” so you might as well try as many things as possible. Their motivation came from the fact that they “are not scared people,” and that there was never a doubt they, “could work through anything.”

      The successful gym owner described what she remembers from high school. “For some reason reading The Great Gatsby in Mr. Gant’s class sticks out. The class was split up into 4 groups,” and they each had to read a book and then figure out a way to tell the rest of the class about the book in an interesting way. McComas said her group, “choose to make a movie acting like a grandfather was telling a young child about the book.” She also commented she felt, “lucky to have teachers that made lasting impressions, including Mr. Pyle, Mr. Holtz, Mr. Booze, Mr. Grove to name just a few!”