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Gyms pump new energy into old buildings in Waynesboro

January 03, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Gold's Gyms are bringing activity to two dilapidated shopping centers in Franklin County, Pa.

Most work has been completed at the Waynesboro gym that overhauled The Outlet Barn plaza on Walnut Street in five months.

The Chambersburg gym opened a temporary location Wednesday and signed up more than 50 people for memberships. That Gold's Gym should move to the former Ames building in the Southgate Shopping Center this April.

Men and women exercising at the Waynesboro Gold's Gym on Wednesday spoke highly of the facility and the Ryckis family who opened it.

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"I've told them several times that they don't know what they've done for this community," said Larry Leonard, who has lived in Waynesboro since 1962.

Kevin and Suria Ryckis bought the 70,000-square-foot building on July 26, 2007, and worked late nights to ready it for a Dec. 15, 2007, opening. Their efforts have yielded a women's fitness center, spinning room, shower rooms, children's center, tanning booths and a room where exercise equipment faces a movie screen.

The group fitness center, where classes will be held, is still under construction.

The Chambersburg gym will have many of the same features when fully open, according to acting general manager Robert Poe.

"The first thing you're going to see is cardio equipment," Poe said.

He said he expects the Chambersburg gym to have 3,000 members by the time it opens in the 22,100-square-foot building, which has been rewired and needs new water lines. The temporary location, also in the Southgate Shopping Center, will be a smaller version of the full plans.

"This is more of a family fitness center," Poe said. "Gold's is trying to phase out of the 'meathead.'"

Poe said the Chambersburg gym, owned by John Spayd, will have bistro tables, which can be found at the Waynesboro facility.

"We really want this to be a place for people to sit, relax and make friends," Suria Ryckis said.

"We want people here. We want them to hang out," Kevin Ryckis said.

David Connolly of Waynesboro said praise has led to more and more of his family members signing up for the local gym.

"We're going to have the whole family working out here soon," Connolly said.

He said the gym has "good people, close to your house, new equipment."

Leonard said he really trusts the Ryckises.

"I hold what they say in high regard. ... It's a pretty good family when you get this (renovation) accomplished," he said.

Part of the renovation project included the preparation of downstairs space for new renters. The Vintage Attic and Look Solutions have signed up to inhabit the building, according to Suria Ryckis.

"There's other potential businesses on the verge of coming," she said.

Waynesboro's fitness director Kat Smith and Poe said their Gold's Gyms will have programs for senior citizens, whose gym time can be paid by many health insurance plans. An outside effort at the Southgate Shopping Center is supposed to bring in senior housing as part of its revitalization.

Leonard described the Ryckises, of Carlisle, Pa., as no longer "outsiders" in Waynesboro.

"We were waiting for something like this to come into town," Leonard said.

"My husband and I were talking about it and thought it was wonderful for the community," Carla Cox said.

The Waynesboro couple was "hooked" the second time they visited, she said.

"Everyone is just like family. When you get here, you don't want to leave," Cox said.

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