LEE COUNTY NEIGHBORS: Tupelo couple married to each other and their work

Chris and Kristi Beckish are a matched set.
They share a business – Premiere Lady Fitness in Tupelo. They share a passion for fitness. They share a birthday – Dec. 1. And, of course, there’s the names.
The couple wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Everything we do is together,” Chris Beckish said. “We laugh and cut up together.”
Working together is fun, but they do split up the work it takes to make a small business go, Kristi Beckish said.
“Our schedules are very different,” she said. “But we get to have lunch together everyday.”
Chris takes the behind-the-scenes work. He mows the lawn, handles maintenance and paper work.
“If a piece of equipment goes down, he’s on it,” Kristi said.
Kristi handles much of the direct work with members and staff.
“I’m in and out all day,” of the 24-hour fitness center, she said.
Even though Chris owns the center and also serves as a personal trainer there, he doesn’t work out at Premiere Lady. The equipment is designed for women and he doesn’t want to mess with the center’s vibe.
“I love the ladies only atmosphere,” Chris said. “When a lady comes in here, she can forget about all the ills and focus on one thing – feeling better.”
Long time members are quick to kid the Beckishes.
“There’s always lots of laughter,” said Glenda McCool, who has been a member for 15 years.
“We love all the jokes,” Kristi said. “It just brightens my day.”
Kristi grew up in Tupelo. Chris Beckish said he can’t imagine a better place to live.
“I’ve lived all over the country,” Chris said. “The past 15 years in Tupelo have really been a joy. It’s where I started a business, where I met my wife, where we’re raising a family.”

Finding Tupelo
Chris grew up all over the United States. His father coached football and the family moved 16 times before Chris started high school.
“I spent my high school years in Minnesota,” Chris said.
He played football at Murray State University in Kentucky, but injuries during his senior year put an end to professional pigskin aspirations after graduation.
“When I knew I wouldn’t be playing on Sunday, I started looking at the fitness business,” Chris said.
His dad was coaching at the University of Mississippi at the time, and he ended up taking summer classes in Oxford. A friend from school became his original business partner and the idea for Premiere Lady Fitness was born.
“Originally it was going to be Tupelo or Cleveland,” Chris said.
He’s quite thankful that Tupelo won. Otherwise, he might have never met Kristi.
Their romance began at a stoplight.
Each was riding with a friend. At the light, their friends chatted, but Chris and Kristi noticed each other.
Chris spotted Kristi a few days later at the Western Sizzlin and left a note on her car.
“If you’re the girl from the stoplight, call me,” he remembers writing.
Their first date was a movie on the weekend at the beginning of December.
“We celebrated our birthdays together,” Kristi said.
They dated for five years before marrying in 2000.
But long before that, Kristi had become the lady of Premiere Lady.
“Why don’t you come help me with the club,” Chris remembers asking Kristi while they were still dating. “It was a nice gym, but it needed a lady’s touch.”
Exercise had always been a part of Kristi’s life, but at the time she was working in the furniture industry.
“The more I was in the gym, the more I liked it,” said Kristi, who took classes to become a personal trainer. “My heart was there.”
Over the past 15 years, Premiere Lady has grown from a small gym with fewer than 100 members with space inside Gloster Creek Village to a successful center with more than a 1,000 members at its Spice Drive facility.
“The bottom line is helping women feel better and look better,” Chris said.

Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@djournal.com.

Michaela GibsonMorris/NEMS Daily Journal