Last year, the Sun began running our Hernando Heroes series, honoring members of the community who are nominated by our readers. The first outstanding person to be highlighted in our 2024 issue is actually a pair of local business owners: Scott and Amy Passarella. Nominated by Sarah Adams, the couple owns Burn Boot Camp in Spring Hill and has been involved heavily in helping those around them through food, supplies, toy drives and more.
“We support the community that supports us,” Scott and Amy said. “Actually, that is one of the main drivers at Burn. It is more than a gym. It truly is a community, a community of like-minded individuals.” This is also part of the business’ mission statement.
Both Scott and Amy came from corporate backgrounds before opening their local Burn branch. The two worked in the beverage industry for over 20 years, with Scott working in distribution and Amy in finance. Eventually, their passion for health and fitness led them to begin running Obstacle Course Races (OCRs) almost every weekend from September 2015 through April 2016. Due to this, the couple wanted to open a fitness facility, but they had little interest in opening a traditional “big box gym,” the Passarellas stated in an email to the Sun.
They strived to create a welcoming atmosphere and avoid any sort of intimidation that can be felt when joining a gym. Soon, the situation would present itself. Scott’s friend and former coworker from the beverage industry called to inform him that she had recently signed to open a Burn Boot Camp in Eastern North Carolina. Scott took this as a sign and began studying for his NASM (Personal Training Certification) to pursue a franchising opportunity with Burn Boot Camp. Though they were initially denied permission to open a location in Spring Hill due to demographics, the company contacted the Passarellas “a few weeks later” to give them the good news. They had been approved. Why? The Vice President of Franchise Development at the fitness business “saw something in us” that led her to believe they would be successful.
The couple now owns a second location situated in Trinity that has been open for almost five years and they look forward to celebrating that anniversary on June 3, 2024. The Passarellas recently renovated the location between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and they spruced up the Spring Hill building in 2022.
“We truly run this business from our heart,” the couple said in the email. “There is this misconception that when you’re in business you’re in it to just make the most money that you can. Though this is true to a point, we also believe in taking that money and reinvesting it in the business or the community. We aren’t trying to get monetarily rich. We are rich in the effects that Burn has made on our community. So many lives have been changed once they walked through our doors. That is our goal.”
They have given back to the community through a litany of drives: toy drives, Santa to a Senior, Fostering Hope supply drives, Hurricane Ian relief supply drives, and food drives for Boy Scouts of America’s annual “Scouting for Food.” Scott and Amy’s goodwill manifested inside Burn Boot Camp’s doors, too. When a member of their gym was recently at risk of losing her home, car and utilities, their gym’s members came together and provided the funds needed to help her with her debts. “It was truly remarkable to see,” said the business owners.
The couple has been active in the community in a variety of other ways as they have helped local sports teams and have donated to schools for teacher appreciation week as well as Hernando County Schools’ Walk and Roll. The Passarellas have also been sponsors for the soccer team of Sarah Adam’s son and helped him afford to play competitive soccer.
“They are an amazing couple,” Adams said. “They are super hard-working, kind to all, and extremely motivating to all who enter their gym. They always know what to do to give someone a boost. They care about the community and have been involved with many different parts of Hernando County […] To me, they are heroes, and they deserve this award, hands down.”