WOODBURY – You never know when or where the inspiration for a new business is going to come. For Ray Harper, the inspiration to open Woodbury Fitness on Main came while working out at home with his personal trainer, Joey Santacroce.
“I was training Mr. Harper in in-home training for the past few years and we were just brainstorming,” said Santacroce. “What would it take to open a studio in Woodbury?”
Harper, who also owns Maggie McFly’s in Southbury and Middlebury, and Santacroce saw the empty storefront space available at 689 Main St. S., next to Woodbury Pizza. The two felt it was the ideal location to set up Woodbury Fitness on Main.
“We saw the location and it looked like it was meant to be a gym, or a karate studio, or a fitness studio, and we took it from there,” Santacroce said. “2,500-sq.-ft. is pretty much the magic number from the research I’d been doing. I know we’re going to be busting at the seems soon and we will grow it.
Since they weren’t adding showers or making any alterations to the building, Woodbury Fitness on Main made it through the Zoning Commission rather quickly, and immediately readied itself to open. However, Santacroce said he didn’t rule out eventually adding showers, should the need arise.
Though Harper is the owner, Maggie McFly’s Marketing Coordinator Carrie Koscal quickly pointed out that Santacroce, the General Manager, is running the show.
“Joey is the brains behind this,” Koscal said. “Ray and Joe worked on the concept together, and the classes. But Joey hired the trainers that he wanted, so basically it‘s his brainchild.”
Woodbury Fitness on Main’s goal is to give its clients the best fitness studio and trainers possible. Between one-on-one training and challenging group classes with up to 10 participants each, Woodbury Fitness of Main wants to provide the tools, mentorship, and support needed to achieve all fitness and health goals.
Santacroce has hired three personal trainers away from his prior gym in Southbury. Santacroce and his team, who have worked together for 8 years, have been brainstorming for the past 6 months about what sort of equipment they’d need based off of everyone’s specialties.
Santacroce said that he and two of his trainers – Darlene Charest and Steve Orlando – had a huge following and they’d been fortunate that everyone they trained came with them, so they have a pretty nice base so far.
“Our specialty is 1-on-1 training but we’re also going to do small group classes,” Santacroce said. “Eventually we do want to branch off and offer an off-peak cardio membership. For now we’re taking it slow and with our specialty.”
Though his trainers all have 10 or more years experience and specialty certification, Santacroce said Woodbury Fitness on Main is looking to differentiate by trying to hit the clients’ individual goals within the class setting.
“A lot of time people show up to a class with 15-20 participants and it’s more of a generic workout,” Santacroce said. “What we try to do is keep the intimacy of the personal training sessions in a group setting, so more people get the individual attention.”
Among the classes: Santacroce and his team are offering sports-specific workout classes for high school athletes. In the past, Santacroce and his team have trained the Pomperaug lacrosse team.
Though Koscal said the gym and the restaurants will be run separately, they will share at least one tie-in. Maggie McFly’s will launch a “fit menu” that will be available in its restaurants. Gym clients will be able to order a meal from the menu before their class, and have it deliverd to Woodbury Fitness on Main before their class is over.
“Everything on the menu will be as fresh as possible,” Koscal said. We’re also making sure the nutrition values are on par for working out and staying healthy to get you through your workout and still have energy at the end of the day.”
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