Steve Thomas, left, and Dava Nimmo work Tuesday on their new gym, Aspire Fitness, in downtown Medford. - Julia Moore

Fitness center hopes move will work out

Medford's movers and shakers will get the chance to flex their muscles outside their corporate offices when a new, high-end gym opens in January.

"It's way more private than any other gym," said Steve Thomas, the 28-year-old owner of Aspire Fitness.

Thomas and his 27-year-old partner, Dava Nimmo, have taken notice of the recent growth in downtown Medford and decided to move their gym into the basement of the Acme Building at 1 W. Sixth St.

"We've outgrown our current facility," Nimmo said.

It is located at 1345 Center Drive in south Medford and they hope the new location will attract clients from the downtown area, including the Lithia Motors headquarters, the One West Main office complex and the new Jackson County health services building.

The gym, which will cater to the 50-plus age group and will emphasize health and wellness, has joined other businesses venturing into the downtown as it undergoes a renaissance.

The area between the Acme Building and Main Street had been an economic dead zone for several years once the recession hit.

Now, the clank of steel girders resonates up and down Main Street as workers build the One West Main complex, which will house Pacific Retirement Services, Rogue Disposal and Recycling and Procare Software. Other businesses have moved into nearby spaces that had been empty for years.

Aspire Fitness hopes to tap into the corporate crowd, offering a tailored, personal experience.

"It's definitely got a different feel than a normal gym," Nimmo said.

Aspire has taken over the 7,000-square-foot basement, and Thomas and Nimmo have undertaken the renovation themselves.

"I'm putting down 3,508 boards on the floor," Thomas said. He has been installing a dark laminate floor with 4-feet-by-5-inch planks throughout the basement.

Nimmo, a model who has worked in Milan, Italy, and in China, is in charge of painting and the overall aesthetics of the downstairs gym. Once the lighting is installed, the large room will be light and airy, she said.

The gym will feature the usual assortment of machines for strength training but will have a large personal training area with lots of mirrors to check posture and critique your own physique.

Thomas said he expects to have 150 to 200 members, with three or four members using the facility at any given time.

"We're creating a higher-end gym," Thomas said. The membership will cost from $40 to $50 a month.

Thomas and Nimmo will offer free seminars on topics ranging from nutrition to how to lose weight.

Five years ago, when Thomas started his gym, Laz Ayala, owner of the Acme Building, offered him the downstairs space.

"I told him it was too big," Thomas remembered.

Now, he feels he's come full circle.

"The building is very beautiful," Nimmo said. "And it's centrally located to downtown."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on Twitter at @reporterdm.

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