OCEANSIDE — Fitness is a big part of Jake Dent’s life.
“I’m in the gym quite a bit,” he said.
Originally from Oregon, Dent found himself quite at home in San Diego County, where fitness is also a big part of peoples lives.
Dent first came to North County through Camp Pendleton as a Marine. Dent enlisted right after high school and became an officer in 2007. He has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dent fell in love with the area and always wanted to return when his duties took him away, especially from this side of the country.
“Every chance I had I requested Camp Pendleton,” he said. “I have family in Oregon and I’m a West Coast kind of guy.”
Aside from fitness and the Marines, Dent said he has always been an entrepreneur of sorts but didn’t feel like he was on the right path to start a business of his own. He grew up working on cars and has some handyman skills and learned how to work with radios and communications equipment as a communications officer in the Marines.
Eventually he discovered a company that would tie his love for fitness, his entrepreneurial ambitions and his handy skills all into one.
Dent is now the owner of the new San Diego branch of Fitness Machine Technicians, a company headquartered in Philadelphia and specializes in repair and maintenance of exercise equipment. Dent owns the first California branch with his office located in Oceanside.
“We’re lucky to have him on board,” said Don Powers, CEO and founder of Fitness Machine Technicians, in a statement.
Dent makes visits to apartment complexes, corporate offices, hospitals, physical therapy offices, gyms and even residential homes to repair exercise equipment or prevent them from malfunctioning.
“People in San Diego are very much into fitness, so there’s a lot of people out there that have equipment that needs to be maintained and fixed,” Dent said. “There are a lot of companies that recognize that for Southern Californians, fitness is an important part of their lives.”
Dent’s business is somewhat of a specialty, though he recognizes he has some good competition in the area. Still, some people may need some convincing to hire a repairman to fix their faulty treadmill before getting rid of it entirely.
“People don’t have the experience to do this stuff, so they have to make the tough decision to either hire someone like me or figure out what else they are going to do with it … but they’ve already spent anywhere from $500 to $2,000 on this machine,” he said. “That’s where I come in and save their investment.”
Right now, Dent has one other technician who lives in the Miramar area of San Diego. That technician, Rene Carreon, is also a Marine veteran.
Dent said his goal is to give fellow veterans a job with his business as he grows and hires more people.
Other veterans have looked out for Dent in his new business venture as well. Dent said he has received calls from fellow veterans who have recommended businesses to work with him.
Dent said there is a lasting “brotherhood” between veterans of any military branch that encourages them to reach out and help each other.
San Diegans in general have been eager to help Dent out, and he is eager to do the same by providing his services.
“Fitness is big part of my life,” he said. “I like to share that with people.”