According to owner Pete Chalfin, business at his Retro Fitness center was going well at the North Plainfield spot the gym opened at in March 2009.
But when the opportunity came to take over the former Gold's Gym in Green Brook (behind Leslie's Pools and the Van Heusen clothing store)—and add 50 percent more space—Chaflin jumped.
"We needed more space—so we went from aproximately 10,000 square feet to over 15,000 square feet," Chalfin said.
The added space gave Retro Fitness room for group exercises, something Chalfin said they've been wanted to do for some time. The center uses Les Mills' programmed class workouts, which are offered at Retro Fitness centers across the country.
"The benefit of Retro Fitness is you can take the class at any Retro Fitness across the state," he said, thanks to the company's policy on flexible memberships.
The new center also features a "Cardio Cinema," a separate room with treadmills and exercise bikes featuring a large-screen TV showing full movies, a separate room for spinning classes, a corner for boxing training, an obstacles workout area, tanning booths, a daycare room, a juice bar and dozens of pieces of modern exercise equipment.
But Chalfin said the gym's planned Nov. 1 move was a challenge.
After spending several months remodeling the old Gold's Gym, rebuilding the gym's locker rooms and showers, as well as the front entrance and juice bar, things were just about set when Superstorm Sandy hit.
"We actually ended up moving in the dark," Chalfin said.
Gym Manager Jared LoCato laughed about the move, noting the challenges of getting the finishing touches under generator-powered lights and placing all of the center's equipment in the dark.
But in the end, it's been worth it: LoCato noted many of the Gold's Gym members joined Retro Fitness, where they can still focus on weight-lifting and muscle building while a new group of customers comes in to take advantage of the classes.
"Everything's going well," he said.
Chalfin said the group exercise classes—which include aerobic, weight and fitness training classes—are proving to be a strong draw for the gym.
"We've had a big increase in membership since we moved," he said.