The Gym a Team Built

The Gym a Team Built

Aug 10, 2014

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Step 1 – build the place and open it.  Done?  Not quite.

We’ve completed the buildout and opened the doors to 2XL Powerlifting LLC as of Monday evening, August 4, 2014.  There is still lots of work to do.  However, we are able to get in some training while we are planning for our ‘Grand Opening’ on August 16, 2014, which includes a deadlift workshop by Ernie Frantz, a deadlift (unsanctioned) really small competition for fun, and the doors open for anyone to check out the equipment from noon until 5pm.

When we received our Certificate of Occupancy we noted a few things: 1st, it appears that we are a weight loss and health facility… I suppose that is all that was available to select from.  Does this mean that I have to surrender my letters and drop back into the 308 or … shudder… the 275 class?  2nd – we have no limit on number of people in the facility.  Well, we did say that there would be several meets held in the space.  They did us the favor of not limiting the occupancy so that we wouldn’t have problems.  I wonder – can we fit enough lifters to burst out the doors and windows?

The original concept was to simply have a place to lift.  Most places in this area were significantly expensive that we would have to have membership in the hundreds in order to make it affordable.  We were lucky in finding and negotiating a space with the Yorktown Mall that provided us 3600 sq ft of lifting and storage space.  We were even luckier when a number of people, lifters and non-lifters volunteered to help build-out the space with the only exception being the HVAC.  We had Murphy and Miller come in to take care of the system and they assisted us, especially as there was one incident that was potentially financially crippling involving a volunteer going through the wall of the facility, the back of a freezer encroaching into the gym space (the neighbor’s problem at this point) then someone coming up with the brilliant idea of chipping away the ice with a hammer and screwdriver releasing 25lbs of R-22, which was now our problem.  We settled up with the neighbor and both the HVAC company and the freezer company worked with us.  I still have the 2.5 inches of the most expensive copper pipe I have ever held.

Luckily that appears to have been the most serious issue in the buildout.

However, the responsibilities associated with building a powerlifting gym in a commercial strip-mall in a strict town like Lombard, Illinois, can be daunting.  That included constant calls from the town that contractors were calling claiming we were doing work requiring permits and a contractor – attempts to force us to contract their services.  Each time we were able to demonstrate that we were not doing anything requiring either a permit or a contractor.  I mean – it’s a place for us to train, is all.  We basically cleaned, painted and lay down a floor and removed a LOT of garbage, then set up our equipment.  Health and safety inspections were fun as we were checked to meet the general public coming through the facility.

I have opened a number of businesses in the past.  This was a little different.  I had a defined budget based upon quotes and other information ahead of time.  As the space was empty for about 12+ years, the budget was basically an optimistic guideline.  With the support of the volunteers, this was far more affordable and everything happened far faster than if we had gone other directions.

The result of all of this work, and seeing as we were required to put additional costs into the space than we expected, we are quite excited as we have opportunities to do FAR more than what we had originally planned.  We also had support from several other gym owners who provided us good pricing on used equipment and flooring allowing us to get these mystical devices referred to as cardio equipment.  At the time I am writing this, the elliptical, recline bike and stationary bike have arrived, the treadmill is on its way (all used commercial grade).  The artificial turf, prowler, sleds and strongman equipment provides us with additional capabilities – we will have the tire this week and have plans for a harness to drag vehicles.  We have a HUGE parking lot in front of our space, after all!

For information on hours and membership – http://www.2xlpowerlifting.com

Personally, I finally get to start training again after 6 weeks (including a competition) Monday, August 11, 2014 with bench accessory work.

Following is a short video concerning the buildout with the last minute showing off the facility.

Owners: Howard Penrose, Eric Stone, Joe Atef

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