On August 25th of this year, the industry, me and countless others lost a dear friend and inspiration.
I met Jim in June 2003 as I was just starting at Club One. He was the very first employee hired at Club One by the founders John & Jill Kinney in 1991. He was just about to go off on one of his big rides. I was going to be his supervisor at the time and we had our first meeting right before he went off for several weeks, if not a full month… I was taken immediately by his pure authenticity and passion (not to mention his captivating eyes). He was a positive force of nature and everyone that met him or knew him captured that power with their first impression.
We had many great times & conversations over the years, but one that sticks out in the very beginning of our relationship was a debate we had together on “nickleing and diming members” – I was looking for revenue streams and he was protective of our authentic service approach – we quickly found common ground, but it highlighted his life-long commitment to putting people first. He was a coach and inspiration to everyone that trained with him… he wanted everyone he met to be successful in whatever they were taking on in their life. There are a lot of people in life with a “scarcity” mentality, there are some with an “abundance” mentality – Jim Karanas had an Abundance Mentality – no one loses with someone’s gain. He always helped people improve and he tranformed lives.
Over the years, we were colleagues at Club One, associates on Kranking & ICG implementations, but more than anything else, we were friends. I can not believe he is gone. His premature exit from us has left a void in the health club industry and a void in countless people’s hearts & lives, including mine.
My last time with Jim was Tuesday June 18th, 2013 – He and I met alone for a long 2 hour leasurery lunch in downtown Danville at a very nice restaurant called Bridges. We shared Edeme and he ordered a salad of some sort… We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with a bottle of nice wine discussing my life and his, my kids, Angie, his neices and nephews, industry trends, virtual exercise ideas, bike enhancements, his schedule, opportunities to work together in his efforts to launch the new bike ICG and Matrix were going to be releasing, and our history together. He was about to head out on trip to meet with Matrix. It was one of many lunches Jim and I enjoyed together over our 10 year friendship. I was a small part of his life through Club One, accidents, his rides, Kranking, ICG and our journeys…
Jim and I agreed on so much. Every time we were together we enjoyed our conversations and time together. He was a dear, loving friend to me. I always tried to be a great friend to him. He was a class act, amazing, inspiring and someone that truly changed people’s lives for the better just by knowing him…
Mr & Mrs Karanas, I don’t know you, but I do know that you both did an amazing job in raising a man with values, integrity, love, compassion, work ethic, determination and care for all. You should be very proud of the man you raised and know that he made the world a much, much better place. I also know he loved Angie with all of his heart. While he left us way too early, he did more good for people (and collectively the world) than many people that live a lot longer in years. The people he touched, changed and helped will carry out the legacy of Jim Karanas. He did leave a legacy, which we all will cherish.
I’m sorry for your loss, Angie’s loss, his extended family’s loss, and ours,