Lift gym begins planning for Jan. 2020 opening downtown

Published 3:11 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

Dawn and Melissa Richardson have long dreamed of owning a boutique gym, where they can train individuals and teach classes to their own beat. Now, after years of planning, they are turning their dream into a reality in downtown Bainbridge.

Dawn currently teaches Butts and Guts at the YMCA and Rebel Fitness in Donalsonville, so she plans to continue offering that class, along with a variety of other options. Dawn wants to allow people to have open gym time and then close the gym off for classes only. During open gym time, the weights and equipment will pull off of the walls and can quickly be put back up in order to use multiple pieces of equipment at once and open up the room for availability.

The room currently has concrete floors, but Dawn plans to make the floors matted so if gym goers drop the weights there won’t be an echo and they won’t have to worry about breaking the concrete.

She also has plans of potentially adding a barre in the room for barre exercises.

“I’ve had a lot of people ask me about barre classes,” she said. “It’s not something that takes up a lot of space and I’m definitely thinking of putting one on the walls.”

This class would also help with Dawn’s plan to open up the gym and allow something for anyone. She wants the gym to be something kids can do smaller fitness work at or athletes can do agility training, while more advanced members can do strengthening exercises and people who enjoy group work can do classes.

Dawn has also considered adding a dance fitness class for women and men. Alex Bird, who owns A to Z, would teach it. She will also be an instructor for other classes.

“My biggest concept is to make it as diverse as possible and draw in all types to people,” Dawn said.

Dawn has grown to love the fitness community through her teaching and that is what makes her most excited for this new project.

“There are so many ideas I have that I can’t utilize unless I have my own space,” she said. “I sit down every day and make up all my own workouts and decide what we are going to do for the day. I really wanted to invest in downtown.”

The building fits Dawn’s needs perfectly and thinks it will be not only visually appealing but also just something different that the community doesn’t already have downtown.

Dawn hopes to open by the beginning of the year. She plans to clean off the brick, add a sound system and mirrors and expose the ceiling and rafters, so she can hopefully add climbing ropes and do suspension training. She said she would love to offer Crossfit style boot camps in the new space, which would allow for that.

The biggest focus Dawn has is making sure everyone knows they are welcome to this gym and can push themselves as much or as little as they want. There will be all types of classes and trainings for beginners to advanced. She doesn’t want anyone to feel intimidated; she just wants them to feel welcomed into this gym family.

Dawn and Melissa have not decided on memberships, yet, but they think they will offer more packages, so no one feels locked into one particular thing.

The Lift Gym will be located at 223 Troupe Street, where Dawn and Melissa have already begun their planning and are working with contractors.