When David and Kay Claxton purchased one of three Twin Arbors Athletic Club locations last year, their goal was to turn the gym into a more intimate, social friendly atmosphere.
“We wanted to get the gym back to where it was, in its heyday, say, 15 years ago,” David Claxton said. “At that time, the gym was in good condition, it had a huge membership base, and people who belonged to this gym felt like they belonged to something special. We want to resurrect this facility and make the necessary improvements to get it back to that point, and treating the members that way.”
The Claxtons took over operation of the gym, located at 1900 S. Hutchins St., on Dec. 1, 2018, just a few months after Spare Time announced it would close all three of its Lodi locations.
And over the past 10 months, the couple has invested several hundred thousands of dollars repairing and remodeling the entire 28,000 square-foot building.
Some of those improvements include repainting the building; replastering the indoor pool and spas; repaving and increasing the size of the parking lot; roof repairs; a new entryway; and shade structures and barbecues installed near the outdoor pool; among others.
Inside, they have created a new 1,600 square-foot group exercise studio; renovated the indoor basketball court and installed a new air conditioning system; created a new cycle area with state of the art machines that have access to the Internet and Google Maps; a new mind and body center; as well as a new “Cyber Cafe” for children 7-13 years old.
The Claxtons said along with restoring the gym’s reputation, a goal was to attract members interested in maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the entire family, and have tried to implement and install amenities that support that.
“My vision (for the gym) was totally family-focused,” Kay Claxton said. “A place where everybody could come and do something they enjoy and create that family atmosphere in here. We’re going to have high speed Wi-Fi and we’re going to get our own fiber optics built for this building, and the kids then will have quick access to phones or laptop. We’ve created a space downstairs so they can do their homework, and a nice baby-sitting area, which then goes along with the family lifestyle.”
Fitness director Jackie Keigley said many times, people use their children, lack of time, or even not being on the same page with the rest of the family as excuses to go to the gym and pursue that healthy lifestyle.
She said the way the Claxtons have envisioned the Twin Arbors club will allow families to stay active and healthy together.
“With a facility like this, it’s easier to find something you enjoy and bring the kids with you, where there’s plenty for them to do,” she said. “So, it gives a better result for the entire family. Coming and return, being more healthy and giving that to your children.”
The Claxtons and Keigley have also reorganized and rearranged equipment and classes. Under Spare Time, weight machines would be in the same exercise room as cycles and treadmills.
Now, free weights can be located in one room, weight machines in another, and cardio machines in a third room.
There is also now a space designed solely for stretching upstairs, an area for kettlebell training, and an area where members can practice any kind of exercise they want.
New programs include Silver Sneakers for seniors, pickleball and a frequency-intensity-timing club — or FIT Club — class that meets twice a week for metabolic strength training.
“I feel like we’ve saved this place,” Kay Claxton said. “This is an icon, because it’s been here so darn long, and with that said, we’ve hired all the employees. They all wanted to stay here. That’s how much they cared about their job.”
David Claxton said some 40 jobs were saved when he and his wife took over, and the membership base is still in the several thousands.
While many members canceled their contracts when Spare Time announced its intention to close its gyms, the Claxtons honored the memberships of those who remained.
Additionally, the Claxtons decided to not offer yearly contracts to members, because a lot of times life gets in the way and members can’t continue to go to the gym.
David Claxton said many clubs tend to not let members out of their contracts, and when the membership dues aren’t paid after a member leaves, that member is sent to collections.
Rather than place financial burdens on members, the Claxtons decided to offer month-to-month memberships, and at the rates offered 15 years ago.
For example, a single membership is $59 a month, while an all-inclusive membership is $69. A standard membership for couples is $91 and an all-inclusive membership is $101. Family members ships are $112 and $117 for standard and all-inclusive, respectively. Both memberships for seniors are $49.
Future work includes remodeling the front desk and lounge; update both locker rooms; and further renovation and expansion of the racquetball courts and parking lot.
The couple also purchased the vacant home directly north of the gym, which they said will most likely be removed from the property for more features and amenities beneficial to Twin Arbors members.
“This was all done without having to close at all,” David Claxton said. “The goal is to not interrupt our members, because they don’t want to lose their time working out.”
Twin Arbors Club welcomes new members, and those interested in joining can visit twinarborslodi on Facebook and Instagram. You can also call 209-334-4897.