When businesses moved out of the building housing Bodyworks Fitness in downtown Parksville, owner Dale Nagra didn’t bemoan the vacancies.
He moved into them.
The downtown gym at 124 Middleton Ave., which Nagra took over 16 years ago, recently unveiled its latest expansion to its expanding base of clients. Located in the space formerly occupied by Blue Door Audio and Video — which moved to another shopping centre at the south end of Parksville — the room boasts new flooring, paint, ceiling fans and wide-screen television sets, with a new sound system on the way. And that doesn’t even address the equipment, consisting primarily of cardio machines such as treadmills, stationary cycles and abdominal workout machines, as well as a dumbbell for dead lifts.
“We removed the dividing walls, and the drop ceiling that was hiding these beautiful beams,” Nagra said while pointing to the open ceiling above. “And we’re going to be moving the front counter and the entrance down here. This will be more convenient for our clients.”
Even better, the space that previously held all the cardio machines, in an adjacent ground-level room, has been remodelled and repopulated with all-new, “functional fitness” equipment including heavy boxing bags, medicine balls and Crossfit-style plates.
“Holy smokes, it’s like it just keeps growing,” client Arlan Webster said when he got his first look at the room, where equipment was still being installed from boxes littering the new, padded floor. “This will be a great little training space.”
That is Nagra’s hope for the remodelled room.
“We can do classes here, in circuit training, cross-training, boxing fitness,” he said.
“There’s a move toward functional fitness, and we can meet that here. And personal training, too, one-on-one. Some people aren’t comfortable training in a group setting.”
Next door, the bright, airy cardio workout space, fronted by full-length windows at ground level on Middleton, is directly below the original, 2,700 sq. ft. upstairs gym purchased by Nagra.
Since purchasing the existing gym with a single treadmill 16 years ago, Nagra has expanded Bodyworks Fitness to a two-building, two-storey operation comprising 14,000 sq. ft.
It includes Bodyworks Fitness for Women, located in its own building at 162 Morison Ave. after being started in Nagra’s first expansion more than a decade ago.
“There’s been lots of renos,” Nagra said with a laugh. “We had thought about building another floor on top of the (Morison) building, but the costs were too high. So, two or three years ago, I bought part of this (Middleton) building.”
The original Bodyworks Fitness had only alley access and parking, between Middleton and Hirst avenues, and a climb up a flight of stairs at the back of the building to access the gym. With the continued expansion, it now will have both parking and access at the front and back, including a ground-level entrance off Middleton.
In addition to moving the front counter to ground level in the newly renovated expansion, the changes will allow Nagra to move the business’s office and laundry facilities from the women’s gym on Morison to the main gym facility on Middleton.
“There was so much running back and forth,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot more organized.”
The ongoing expansion has been driven by demand in a fitness industry that continues to expand in Parksville, even with the recent addition of another competitor in the market.
“This is the busiest it’s been here,” Nagra said as clients worked on treadmills and stationary bikes behind him. “The Iron Warehouse opened a year and a half ago, and this year has been our busiest.”
His staff includes manager Tammy Roy at the Middleton gym and Emma Campbell at Bodyworks Fitness for Women. Roy said the recent remodel and expansion of the downstairs space at Middleton drew instantaneous — and positive — feedback from clients.
“One of our regulars came in today and her jaw just dropped,” said Roy. “She said, ‘It’s unbelievable.’
“People are happy. I know I am.”
Bodyworks Fitness is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends. See more info on both locations at bodyworksgym.net.