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Couple sees 'Gold' in former outlet

August 14, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - One of the largest commercial buildings in downtown Waynesboro is in the midst of a nearly $1 million overhaul by its new owners.

The Outlet Barn, once a popular destination for metropolitan shoppers, has been mostly vacant in recent years.

"The building is a good old building, but it needs some love," Kevin Ryckis said.

He and his wife, Suria, were looking to open a Gold's Gym, and the Carlisle, Pa., couple felt Waynesboro was the right fit.

"We saw this building, and it was meant to be," Kevin Ryckis said.

The Ryckises plan to invest $600,000 in renovating the 70,000-square-foot building. They estimate that gym equipment will cost another $300,000.

It's really a family-oriented project, they said.

"We own it and are doing all the work ourselves," Suria Ryckis said.

"We don't want anyone to think it's a big corporate conglomerate coming in," Kevin Ryckis said, mentioning that his daughter is a certified personal trainer and his son is moving to help.

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The Ryckises have partnered with Kevin Taylor, who will be their construction manager. He doesn't hesitate when he confidently says the gym will be open by December.

Passers-by on Walnut Street will soon see stacked stone being applied to the building's exterior, Taylor said. On Monday, he was awaiting his fifth Dumpster for the site.

The upstairs of the building once housed a gym. Architect's plans for the Gold's Gym show tanning salons, a child care room, a separate exercise room for women, shower rooms, a video theater, a juice bar and a group room.

"It's an older building, and we want to restore it to its former glory," Taylor said. "The outside is going to look spectacular."

"Gold's does a demographics analysis to make sure the area can support it," Kevin Ryckis said.

He said he purchased the franchise rights from Greencastle, Pa., to Rouzerville, Pa., and he wants to have 2,500 members. The $39.99 membership fee will be discounted for people who commit prior to the building's opening.

Koontz's Carpet Connection and Beck & Benedict Hardware plan to stay. The building has 17 rental units.

Beck & Benedict, a 107-year-old business, moved to the plaza in 2000, said Dick Boschert, who owns the store with his wife, Della.

The Outlet Barn had shoes, clothing and housewares outlets in the 1960s and 1970s, Boschert said.

"Shoppers came out of Baltimore and Washington by the busload," Boschert said. "A lot of people were learning about outlets at the time."

In the late 1970s or early 1980s, the outlets moved to Martinsburg, W.Va., and the building became the address for a "little mall" of retailers and restaurants, Boschert said.

At that time, the building became known as The Barn, he said.

Kevin Ryckis said he wants to rename it Gold's Plaza.

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