New fitness center opens

Published 10:56 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Apex Community Fitness Center in Charlotte Court House in now open for business following its grand opening Feb. 1.

The Apex Community Fitness Center collaborates with Apex Day Support Services, which provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

According to Lorene Wendelin, the owner of Apex Day Support Services, the gym was opened as a way to provide jobs for the program’s participants and provide a fitness option for Charlotte County residents.

“Last January, the staff brainstormed and we thought that maybe we could provide two valuable services,” Wendelin said. 

She said the services include “reopening the fitness center so the community could have a local option and not have to travel so far for fitness facilities, and our (Day Support Services) participants need jobs, so we thought we could provide supported employment to our participants allowing them to make a real wage for real work.”

Wendelin said the gym was incorporated as a non-profit and fundraising efforts aided with start-up costs, liability insurance and wages for the facility.

Additionally, a board of directors was developed to guide the initiative. 

Apex Direct Support Aide Bryll Thompson said she believes the gym will be an asset to the community because “every membership here gives the participants a job.”

Thompson said the fitness center will also raise awareness for the center.

Apex Day Support Services has about 15 participants.

Prior to Apex Day Support Services occupying the building, the Charlotte County Fitness Center occupied the space.

“We had people coming by constantly asking if the (former) gym was still open or if we were going to re-open it,” Wendelin said.

The Apex Community Fitness Center houses fitness equipment such as a treadmill, stair stepper, inversion machine, rowing machine, rear deltoid machine, pectoral machine, bicep machine, shoulder press, vertical bench, lat pulldown machine, free weights, toning balls and yoga mats and blocks.

“We are hoping to attract teachers of Yoga, Pilates or Zumba to the center, although those services may be in addition to the membership,” said Wendelin.

Memberships to the gym are $35 a month and $5 for each additional family member from the same household. However, individuals who do not want to make a membership commitment may pay a $3 daily drop-in rate to use the facility.

The gym is open seven days a week, from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday and 2-6 p.m. on Sunday.

The gym is located at 275C George Washington Hwy. in Charlotte Court House.

“Our mission is to help people with intellectual disabilities and autism to have meaningful activities to participate in during the day, and when possible, to put them to work for real wages,” said Wendelin.