A new fitness center opening in Ditmas Park will also serve the neighborhood as a community center of sorts.
"I want it to be a comfortable place," owner Juan Spencer said. "I want to create good energy; a person can come here to hang out, get out of the house for a while- whatever you came up to that door with, it can be left there."
Ditmas Fitness will have more than just work-out equipment and locker rooms. The Beverley Road space will offer an outdoor space equipped with patio furniture and a garden to relax, showcase local artists' work on the gym walls and act as a place to come to support and appreciate the neighborhood, Spencer said.
An ACE certified personal trainer, Spencer has lived in Ditmas Park for 22 years, and has long wanted to find a way to give back to the community. "I feel strongly that everybody should help out in their own way, and it doesn't hurt me to say, 'Hey, want to hang up your own art?' It helps out the community," he said.
The friendly atmosphere is what Spencer says will draw in residents who are as dissatisfied as he is with the state of many gyms. "There have been occasions where I've had a membership but didn't like the service," he said.
For this reason, Spencer plans on creating a flexible membership system. There will be daily, weekly, monthly, three-month, six-month and yearly membership plans, no initiation or cancellation fees, and no contractual obligations. Spencer noted those aspects of previous gym experiences bothered him the most. "At the end of the day, I don't feel that's anyone's business why you want to leave," he said. "It's up to the individual to take responsibility for exercising."
The gym, located at 1004 Beverley Road, between Stratford and Coney Island Avenue, will be open Monday through Thursday 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Spencer noted he's aiming for a week-long grand opening during the second week of July. "The first time you come in, it's on the house," he said. "That gives a person flexibility to think about [the membership]."
"I'm not just here for your money," he said. "The quality of service and the level of service is what its all about."