By HOWARD BALABAN howard.balaban@journal-register
Medina Journal-Register — Growing up, people are constantly told to dream big.
In Kim Lockwood’s case, she decided to dream bigger, and because of that, her business will soon expand.
FastFitness for Women, Lockwood’s exclusive gym currently located on Main Street in Medina, will be changing addresses. Plans are moving forward and the facility will soon be housed at 627 West Avenue, which is the site of the former Ace Hardware building.
“I heard they were leaving and thought moving might be a possibility,” Lockwood recalled. “Some county officials are members of the gym, and they told me I had a good thing going here.
“I was running out room, though,” she added. “They told me of the possibility, I spoke with (Ace owner) Roger (Andrews), and it all just kind of went from there.”
She will be leasing the building from him, and said “he has been great to work with.”
Lockwood said owning a gym has “always been a dream” and to have one as big as it soon will be is a huge benefit to her clientele.
“I couldn’t put any more equipment at the Main Street location, and this will allow plenty of room for more state-of-the-art cardio equipment, for example,” she said. The new facility will feature many of the same amenities as the current address, as well as an AQUAMassage Bed and fitness classes, among other things.
Lockwood has owned FastFitness for nine years, starting her first gym in Albion in 2004. After her daughter suffered a sever accident in 2008, Lockwood sold the Albion gym to provide care. Eventually, as her daughter slowly regained her independence, Lockwood “regrouped and in January of 2010 I opened up on Main Street in Medina.”
The patrons of FastFitness are all women, and Lockwood said that was by design.
“Women shouldn’t be intimidated or judged on how they look when they’re at the gym,” she said. “This is a place where they can feel comfortable exercising.”
Lockwood noted how the ladies who use FastFitness have become part of her proxy extended family, and she joked how some are the proverbial “snowbirds” who are only members for part of the year.
“They come in and share stories or recipes, or we talk about our kids,” she said. “They truly are part of my extended family, and I want to thank them because without their support and their belief in an all-women’s gym, I wouldn’t be in this position.”
As a business owner in an ever-changing field, Lockwood said she takes as many courses to keep up with the latest trends in health and fitness. Her gym also accepts a variety of insurance plans, and she will soon be offering Silver Sneakers for senior citizens.
Lockwood is also one of the longest-tenured Orleans County Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP) graduates. She said the people at the Orleans Economic Development Agency “are some of my biggest fans” and that they have helped her secure what is now her third business loan to help her expand. She added that Sam Campanella of the NYS Small Business Development has also been helpful during her time as a business owner.
MAP Coordinator Diane Blanchard pointed to Lockwood as one of the program’s brightest success stories.
“I’m really proud of her and for her,” Blanchard said. “This is my favorite part of the job, because I get to meet all kinds of people and help them get their dreams off the ground.”
Blanchard said part of the program includes bringing in past graduates to talk about the positives and negatives of owning a business, and Lockwood is a past speaker.
Seeing the results in the county with new businesses in Albion, Medina, Holley, or anywhere else “is rewarding” to see, Blanchard said.
But seeing a business succeed for nearly a decade, and become successful enough to the point where it needed to expand like FastFitness?
“I can’t even put that pride into words,” Blanchard said.