Both longtime members of the fitness center, new co-owners Brian Curry and Shari Simpson recently took over operation of the facility, on the second floor at 1880 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Plaza II Shopping Center. They bought it from Paul and Peter Dufour, who’d run the gym since 1985.
“It’s a gym for locals, it’s not corporate and it’s always been family owned,” said Curry, of the profile of the 1,200-member fitness center. “People come here because its more than just a gym: It’s a social thing.”
“It took years,” joked previous owner Paul Dufour, about he and his brother selling the club to Simpson-Curry.
“Some days I’d just come in here and say, ‘Hey guys, when do you want to sell?,’” said Curry. “It went on for years, no high pressure. I’d had one year of retirement, not working, and then it worked out perfectly. [The Dufours] finally came out and said, ‘We’re ready.’ So on Jan. 1, we did it.”
“It was time,” said Paul Dufour of relinquishing ownership.
“This was their baby,” pointed out Simpson.
Of their stewardship of the gym, Paul Dufour, said: “We tried to make it comfortable for everyone. Those serious could come in here and get a serious workout. We’d also spend a lot of time with the people just starting out.”
About the gym’s trademark collegiality, Simpson commented: “A good example is a Zumba class here. We also have a broad range of all ages, all types. It’s just a really friendly gym. And there’s a strong sense of community within the walls.”
“If you ask any member what they like about it, they’ll probably say, ‘We just like the people,’” said Curry. “That’s what it’s about.”
Fitness West has a wide assortment of exercise equipment including elliptical machines, treadmills, stairclimbers, Lifecycles, rowing machines, free weights and a complete collection of Nautilus equipment.
The fitness studio also offers group exercise classes, such as: boot camp cross training, yoga, spinning cycling, core and strength training, Zumba and Pilates.
The gym has no long-term contracts, offering month-to-month memberships instead. Personal training is available.
Working in the real estate industry for 30 years, Curry said it was time for a change for him too. “The only gym I wanted to buy was this one,” he said. “I wanted it in PB.”
Of Fitness West and its drawing power, Simpson predicted continuity is what will keep the gym going.
“[The Dufours] had been in business for more than 30 years and they’d seen so many trends come and go,” she said. “It’s a neighborhood gym. We have the basics. We have the standards. We have the community. We keep the classes up to date. We always keep it fresh.”
“We’re the same gym, the same brand,” said Curry. “We’re going to be here for a while.”
Where: Pacific Plaza II 1880 Garnet Ave.
Hours: Mondays through Thursdays
5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fridays 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,
Sundays 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.