Evans Fitness Club has an easy birthday to remember. 12/12/12. That is the date the family owned fitness facility opened to the public. Co-owner Lisa Katz recently recalled the time fondly. “When we opened, it really had a huge splash! I remember since we opened during winter break, teenagers whose family joined would come and kind of walk the track and weightlift. For a brief period of time it was like the spot where teenagers were flirting with each other. It was kind of funny!”
Ten years ago when the gym was being planned, Evans was certainly growing-but was a long ways away from being named Money magazine’s 2020 “Best Place to Live in America” as it is today.
Money praised Evans’ 17% increase in its employed population in the past five years, as well as an unemployment rate that was below the national average, even in the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also noted that one in every 90 residents in Augusta is a doctor due to the nearby Medical College of Georgia and the biggest employer in the area is the U.S. Army’s Fort Gordon, according to Georgia Public Broadcasting.
“What we saw was Columbia County had a lot of different things, but there was a population that loved fitness and that wanted really good, quality fitness. They didn’t want a dirty gym or the basement of some building. They wanted a high end gym, so the vision was to have a fitness club that was like the kind you would find in a big city, but right here in Evans Georgia,” Katz recalled.
“We all know we aren’t a big city, and we’re grateful we don’t have the traffic a big city has, but we wanted to build a club you would find in a big city. You can take a pilates class, you can take a martial arts class, we have a lot of amenities. The walking track upstairs, the speed track downstairs, the fitness cinema, the yoga room, there is a ton of stuff always going on here,” Katz said.
The 53,610-square-foot facilty has flourished since opening.
There has always been a sense of community at Evans Fitness Club, Katz said. “One of the hashtags we use is #fitfam, because our members consider themselves a family here, one that comes together and works out.”
There is a misconception that the club is a part of a large corporation due to its size. “We have so many amenities people assume we are corporate owned,” Katz said. “But that is not the case at all.”
A silent partner for the previous seven years, last year Katz came on board and became an active managing partner.
Although she had been involved on the periphery, there has been a big learning curve. “I’m kind of just learning each of the multiple departments,” Katz said.
“Making sure the facility is well maintained is what I do mostly,” Katz says. “We spent our Thanksgiving here in the club since we were closed removing and reapplying fresh tape on the seams in the octagon. “We’re up at night and during the day doing the work ourselves. When we make decisions for the gym, we think about not just the gym, but the local Columbia County community,” Katz said.
“I did research science before I went to medical school at Emory, so I kind of see everything as a scientific research project,” Katz shared.
With the eighth anniversary approaching, it is amazing how little the club has changed. It still shines like a new apple.
There are a lot of trends in fitness. “You have to somehow accommodate for the trends without getting too caught up in them,” said Katz. “Boot camps have gotten bigger, so the rooms have gotten bigger. We can accommodate more people, more classes, more equipment.”
Katz said the one trend that has stayed the same the years that she’s been a gym rat is spinning. “People still love spinning classes. It’s been around since the 1990’s. It’s the one thing that just stays. I think because we get older and can’t do the things we could do before, but we can still spin. We keep spinning.”
Not all trends survive. “There was a thing called Piloxing when we opened in 2012. It was a combination of Pilates and kickboxing. No one does Piloxing anymore, Katz chuckled. “I got certified in Piloxing. You still see it sometimes-maybe it’s not formally Piloxing, kind of a combination of standing Pilates and boxing.”
Boot camps have also remained big amongst fitness buffs. “For example, the personal training room downstairs is just for personal training. Well, that used to be our boot camp room. We all can’t believe we used to have boot camps in that room, since it has grown so big.”
This year for the anniversary, EFC has a big day planned. The parking lot will be full of vendors selling Christmas gifts, Smokeshow’s food truck will be on hand, along with a dessert truck. “And we’ll have Santa inside for free photos,” Katz said.
“It’s an opportunity to give the gift of fitness for your family member, but also a way to support local business. People are looking to help local businesses,” Katz said.
Whether you join EFC for your own workout or you’re buying a membership for a loved one, you are supporting a local business. On December 12th, EFC will be offering three months free, with your first payment not coming due until March of 2021.
Visit the website for more details HERE.
Evans Fitness Club is located at 3002 Allen Drive in the heart of Evans.