New Fitness Center Opening in Former Esersky’s Hardware Site

New Fitness Center Opening in Former Esersky’s Hardware Site

Claremont — Those who preferred Twisted Fitness over the city’s community center for their workout needs and schedule will soon be able to join another private health club on Pleasant Street.

Real Steel Fitness is planning to open its doors this spring in the storefront now occupied by Esersky’s Hardware, which is down the street from where Twisted Fitness operated until closing down last year. Esersky’s will be relocating.

Former Stevens High School Principal Frank Sprague said Real Steel Fitness is a business partnership that includes him, his wife, and Claremont resident Tim Chapin.

Sprague said they are buying the Twisted Fitness equipment, including stationary bikes, treadmills, free weights and other equipment and will be leasing the Esersky’s space. “We also plan to add some new equipment,” he said.

Sprague said Chapin was a regular customer at the Hitchin’ Post, a Maple Avenue restaurant that Sprague and his wife sold last summer, and that is where they struck up a friendship.

“We began talking about the possibilities and opportunities,” Sprague said. “And we have been in touch with a lot of Twisted Fitness members. The community center is a wonderful place. But for some, the environment at Twisted Fitness was something they miss. I think we will be filling a niche.”

Sprague said he is not worried about competing with the community center for customers or the center’s membership rates, which are considerably less than what Twisted Fitness charged and one of the reasons the owners, Jon and Leigh Ann Root, cited for their closing last November.

While it is too early to say what the membership rates will be, Sprague said, the new owners will keep operating expenses as low as possible and won’t incur a lot of debt before opening.

With lower overhead, Sprague said, they won’t need as many members as Twisted Fitness, which had about 350 customers, down from 700, when it closed.

Real Steel Fitness will use the first floor for cardio equipment and the basement for a weightlifting area. “We have far more room (than Twisted Fitness) so people will be spread out,” Sprague said.

The business is defined under fire code as an “assembly area,” as opposed to mercantile, because it will have more people in the building at one time than with the retail operation, which means tougher code requirements

“One of the challenges is the access and egress,” Sprague said.

Some of the work that will be done before opening includes new front doors, an exit in the rear from the basement, installation of showers and bathrooms and minor electrical work.

The business will also have a card-entry system for members to allow for 24/7 access, a feature that Twisted Fitness members found more accommodating to their schedules than the community center.

On Thursday, the Historic District Commission approved the new sign for Real Steel Fitness and new front doors.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at

Author: Patrick O’Grady Valley News Correspondent

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