Jeff Rose and Eric Stafford know their way around a weight room.
The two have been weightlifting partners for nearly a decade now, and it's been a dream of theirs to open up a gym they can call their own.
That dream is finally becoming a reality as they, along with fellow co-owners Cecily Rose and Kacey Stafford, are getting ready for the grand opening of NW Fitness & Strength in downtown Molalla on July 1.
"It's kind of been talked about for 10 years, ever since me and [Jeff] met up at the gym," Eric said.
Jeff agreed: "Both of us have been pursuing more than just a workout; bodybuilding, strongman, powerlifting, whatever, so we'd like to get a high-level gym with those things in mind."
The gym is currently still under construction and is located at 112 Main Street in downtown Molalla.
And while Jeff and Eric are known for their intensity in the gym, with both of them being top-level competitors in the strongman and fitness scenes over the years, they said that's not the vision they have for their gym: they want it to be a place for everybody.
The building itself boasts a whopping 8,000 square foot floor plan that will allow for multiple fitness areas, including a designated section for heavy lifting (strongman moves and powerlifting platforms), an aerobics room for group fitness classes, a cardio area, machine weights room, TRX and CrossFit certified trainers, men's and women's locker rooms with showers, tanning rooms, and a day care center.
The gym has also partnered with Lindsay Huitt, owner and creator of Dolce Dance in Molalla, as the "fitness side" of Dolce will merge with NW Fitness & Strength, according to Cecily. She will take on the role of main fitness instructor while other instructors will balance out their class schedule with a variety of programs.
"We'll have everything from strongman, powerlifting, circuit training, cardio, dance Zumba, all that stuff," Eric said.
When asked what makes NW Fitness & Strength distinctive, Jeff pointed out their designated heavy lifting area, which will be unique to the Molalla area.
"This room right here is going to be for heavy lifting, big squats, big deadlifts, to keep the intimidation over here rather than out with the public area," Jeff said as we stood in a room filled with gigantic dumbbells and dozens of rubber bumper weight plates for powerlifting.
"The big lifts can come in here, and people can be comfortable out there without being intimidated," he said.
The building leased by the group of four co-owners had been vacant for a number of years, and they said the process for getting it up and running took a good bit of homework.
"It's a lot of homework trying to figure out the rough costs and just fixing this place up, and we're still running into bumps here and there," Eric said.
Most of the building was an open floorplan, so the group had to hire contractors to come in and erect walls to separate out the different areas of the gym, install electrical fixtures and connections, and so forth.
Since the announcement of their business, the group has received an outpouring of support among the local community on social media; after all, they're local people and they're invested in their community. Jeff and Eric both work for NW Natural in different roles, Cecily is the director of the Molalla Adult Community Center, and Kacey is an insurance agent at Kyllo Insurance Services NW in Canby.
"We have strong roots in this community and we absolutely love this community," Cecily said. "So it's really fun to see how much support we've gotten, how much encouragement and inspiration we have … we went to school here, grew up here, work here, and we're in all different areas throughout this community."
"We want to be a positive influence on this community, we want this business to be a positive cornerstone in Molalla," Cecily said.
The gym's owners will add a lucrative staff of trainers, nutritionists, fitness class instructors, and more, making it a one-stop-shop for an individual's fitness goals and preferences, whatever they may be.
"We've had a lot of people approach us, and we've carefully sat down and talked and gone through a lot of people," Jeff said. "We found a core group of people that their idea is in line with ours from the start, and that it revolves around this community … and it was pretty easy to find those people, good people kept stepping forward, some we knew, some we didn't."
When asked how their individual professional backgrounds play a role in their business endeavors, Cecily said she is grateful for the diversity of experience and knowledge the four bring.
"I think the diversity is really amazing," she said. "Even though these two (Jeff and Eric) work at the same company, they have totally different jobs; Eric is in customer service and Jeff does more on the construction side, and both are equally important for this business."
"I've worked with seniors forever and I love that aspect that we are going to have such heart and passion for seniors … we're obviously full ADA accessible … so I think everybody is bringing something to the table; Kacey is doing a lot of our banking things and homework on the business side. All of us have roles here, but we're also not bound by our roles because while, yes it's work, the contractors are doing the majority of the work at this time, so we get to be at this stage where we're doing a lot of dreaming and thinking of what the future looks like for us."
Jeff said he also hopes to host powerlifting and strongman competitions at the gym from time to time since there isn't an area to do so locally.
"We've already had offers for pro powerlifting events out here, strongman events, and we'll come and do it all," Jeff said. "Molalla is actually fairly centrally located from Idaho, to Washington, to California, and obviously we've all traveled to different places to compete, and this is not much of a drive."
The grand opening is on Saturday, July 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature a barbecue open to the community beginning at 11:30 a.m.
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