Getting to know your neighbor: work out at Springville Health and Fitness Center
Gerry Czora, operator and former owner of GC Fitness at 66 East Main St., said that he and his business partners chose to make the new facility all about the people it serves.
“The owners wanted to keep this a premier facility,” he explained. “As it grew, it became this real group effort. Every one of the partners has input and we work together as a group. That’s community. We come together for a common goal. That breeds success that is long-lasting and a benefit to the community.”
When deciding on a name, Czora decided to focus locally. “I could have kept it GC fitness, which was the name I had for 17 years. It was important for me to look at why I had that name, and its real significance was pride. Those are my initials, so to give that up was to give a little piece of myself up. I had to think, ‘what am I after?’ I had to think about what represents my love for people,” Czora said.
He explained his philosophy for the facility while standing in the freshly-painted lobby near the “operation center,” with the check-in computer and educational literature, surrounded by a spacious room with a case full of snacks and beverages, a magazine-strewn bar, tall stools and leather couches flanked with potted plants crouching on smooth carpets, speaking over an undertone of white noise from several mounted flat-screen television sets.
He credited his wife, Christine, for being the driving force behind much of the decoration. “I wanted the lobby area to be a tribute to the history of this area,” Czora said. “[Springville] is rich with attributes and I wanted people to be able to come in and learn how important it is. It’s so wonderful to have pictures of people from so long ago, who were pillars of this community, right here on display.”
Czora said that local historian David Batterson has been instrumental in getting old photographs, including one from Springville’s first cycle club, taken in 1888.
“It’s important to me to take care of people,” he said. “If you take care of people, the business will take care of itself. For me, it’s all about the people. We’re on a mission here and there’s so much to it: people from all different lifestyles come together who are trying to develop a community event center. We want them to be able to consider this space for special events, charity events, a place to come together to showcase the community. That’s been our plan from day one,” Czora explained.
Owner Mike Hannon noted that, from a business point of view, the center has taken some work to get together and there is still more work to go.
“When we first built it out into a gym six or seven years ago, we spent $650,000 on this floor, alone. The owner of that facility wanted to own his own building, and that’s his right, but we wanted to keep it a gym, since we put so much into it,” Hannon said.
“The only way to survive is to have a good product at a good price, and that’s exactly what we want to do,” Hannon said. He noted that the other businesses in his building, Papa Jake’s Saloon and Early Bird Childcare, are also going strong.
The facility features a weight room with several new state-of-the-art Body Masters machines, a cardio room with a circular track, an expanded workout room for classes such as spinning, yoga or Zumba, new locker rooms with a sauna in each and a tanning area in the works.
“In the city, people go to the mall to walk. Now, they can do that here,” Czora said. He also pointed out a new type of machine, a combination recumbent bicycle and elliptical machine, ideal for people with knee problems.
“I’m fortunate to be working with partners who wanted to build a premier facility; who would invest in time-tested equipment that will take us to the next level. We’ve set a good foundation for success and, as we get going, we’re going to assess our customer base to accommodate growth.”
Czora, who has been in the fitness business for 24 years, said his biggest focus is on keeping the customer fit, healthy and happy.
“My interest is to bring everyone together. Everybody should be doing something in the fitness realm, because it’s key to vitality. The sky’s the limit. I don’t believe in limitations. The average person sets their own limitations,” he noted.
“I love it when people come up to me and say, ‘you’ve changed my life,’” Czora said, referencing a client he once had who controlled his heart condition with a diet and exercise regimen suggested by Czora.
“That means everything to me. The human body operates more effectively when you maintain a more active lifestyle. It’s evolution. The body adapts to whatever environment you put it in, and you can make a change at any age or any level. It’s all about understanding the basic fundamentals.”
The key is to re-develop your body to fit new definitions,” said Czora.
“The older you are, the longer it takes to define your ‘new normal,’ and that’s why diets don’t work. That’s my philosophy: simplicity is key. I can teach the basic fundamentals, but you’ve got to understand that it’s not complicated, once you know the principles. You have to hang with it. People are creatures of habit.”
In order to educate the center’s clients, Czora has literature, classes and personalized workout routines on hand to help his clients develop healthy habits.
“Once people understand, you can take it to any level. We’re all dieting. If you’re eating, you’re dieting. We’re all body builders. If you’re altering your physique in any way, that’s body building.”
A program he devised called “total body fit” features a workout plan to fit into most people’s busy schedules that does not require a daily commitment, but works all areas of the person’s body to achieve maximum fitness at any level.
“My program is well-rounded. I can teach a lot of people how to do it,” Czora said, explaining that the program can be personalized depending on a person’s level.
In keeping with his focus on education, a hall of fame hallway showcases local high school students who have “gone the extra mile.
“It’s about community,” Czora explained. “We’ve got to recognize these kids who have really made a contribution.”
The center is in what Czora called the “progress stage,” working on bringing in instructors for new classes and programs. The gym currently has individual, student and family rates.
“It takes time to get it right. Everything is an education. What’s important is that I’ve had a great opportunity to surround myself with a wonderful group of people. The sky’s the limit. At the end of the day, if the customer is happy, everybody is happy.”
Czora and his wife operate the fitness center, made possible by business partners Robert Runge, James Oatman, Hannon and Ed Reighter.
The center is located at 243 West Main St. and currently operates Monday – Friday, 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. with plans to expand the hours in the future.
New classes, trainers, a tanning center and events are also in development.