The former Covington Athletic Club has been purchased and is set to reopen this fall as Alcovy Fitness and Wellness, a move that's being welcomed by the hundreds of residents who used to be devoted members.
Pam Stillerman, a former member and fitness instructor, and her husband Jim Stillerman, who owns an internal medicine office in Covington, purchased the foreclosed building from Newton Federal Bank and plan to invest around $2 million in new equipment and interior and exterior renovations along with friends Gary and Susan Boteler's of Atlanta.
"It's going to have a completely different look. When people walk in, we're hoping the wow factor is going to blow them away," Pam Stillerman said. "It has been my dream and mission since almost four years ago to reopen the building, but it's taken us this long to get it all together to make it affordable for members. Our goal is to provide quality programming with affordable fitness for everyone and to reach people who are already fit and also those who have never exercised before. We want to promote wellness and provide an environment that is warm, welcoming and inclusive to all."
One of the building's most important assets is its indoor pool, and once Alcovy Fitness and Wellness opens - Stillerman is aiming for sometime between Oct. 15 and Nov. 1 - that pool will be the only publicly-accessibly indoor pool in Newton County.
"The indoor pool is wonderful for folks. As we get older, we cannot exercise with high impact, and swim exercises are wonderful for back and joint issues. When you exercise in water, you're looking at 12 times the resistance of air, and you can jump around and be a maniac in the water and not injure yourself," Stillerman said. "As we get older, more of us will end up in the water."
Stillerman said she'd also like to offer swim lessons year round.
One of the most unique parts of her plan, and one of the reasons Stillerman believes the business will be successful, is the company's pay model.
A basic membership costs $9.95 per month, which just pays for the basic use of equipment, while each extra amenity costs an extra $10 per month; group fitness classes and pool use count as one amenity. Other amenities include the hot tub and dry sauna and other classes.
Stillerman said the pricing structure is the standard in the industry, and she hopes the flexible plans will enable Alcovy Fitness and Wellness to grow to 3,000 members.
"We're going to a hybrid model where individuals will only pay for the amenities they use. It's going to be the most affordable thing around," she said. "This type of model is the model right now that's successful in fitness industry. The low cost is for just the basic use of equipment and anything you use beyond that pay extra for. If you don't use, you don't pay for it."
Other amenities include handicap accessible shower, completely renovated pool with chairlift accessibility pool, the ability to watch movie on the cardio machines, spinning classes, personal training and group fitness classes including Zumba, strength training, yoga, pilates step aerobics and water aerobics. She said there will also be elegant locker rooms, which Stillerman joked would be "nicer than my bathroom at my home."
Stillerman was a member of Covington Athletic Club for 17 years and was the group fitness director from 1996 to when it closed, and "was there when the ship went down and among the people crying," because of the close relationship of the attendees. Debra Griffith was another long-time member who's also thrilled the building is reopening.
"I am excited beyond words! Opening day can't get here soon enough for me," Griffith said in an email. "Having been one of the original CAC members, joining before the facility was actually finished, I was devastated when it unexpectedly closed almost three years ago. Being unable to find a facility that came close to CAC, I essentially withdrew from my former "gym life," resorting exclusively to a long-distance walking regime.
"Once I heard ‘through the grapevine' that the Stillermans may be on the verge of re-opening the facility, I began my weekly emails to them bugging them for updates."
People can sign up at the Alcovy Fitness and Wellness pre-sale office in Newton Plaza at 3146 U.S. Highway 278 NW, Covington.
For more information, call (770) 385-8550. The business also has a $100 initiation fee, but it will be waived for the first 500 members who sign up.