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Reopened Woodbridge Gym Celebrates Success

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — A local gym with a reputation for being a body builder’s destination is working to remake its image as a tried and true community staple.

Earlier this year Powerhouse Gym in Woodbridge abruptly closed to its customers with no explanation. Its members wondered what had happened to a gym where they paid for a membership. Its employees wondered if they would still have a job.

But the facility wasn’t dark for long. Just two days after the shutdown, co-owner Kelly Kirk returned to Powerhouse to finish the job he started when he helped open the place in 2007 as a co-owner.

Prior to his return, he was missing from Powerhouse for nearly a year. He left after a disagreement with the gym’s then two other co-owners who no longer work there.

Since coming back, Kirk took full control of the gym has labored to right the ship. He found investors, worked out a short-term funding plan with his corporate office, and worked hard to not only retain his membership base but to grow it. So far, it’s worked.

He credits his gym members with making his comeback, and the overall success of the gym possible.

“We had members come in as we were tying to reopen the place, carrying and moving equipment…we had one guy come in and repair fixtures in our bathrooms and I was like “dude, do I owe you anything?” and he was like “nope, don’t worry about it,” said Kirk. “I know of few other gyms in this area who have those kinds of members, who would come and help out for free to get the place up and running again.”

Kirk is jovial, and for many he is the reason why members come in everyday. From the novice to the expert athlete, Powerhouse has become a place where judgment has been traded for a few laughs and the swapping of personal stories about everyday life.

Powerhouse on Thursday held a special open house for its members and the community to celebrate this year’s successes. Access to the gym was free all day, and several vendors came out to show their wares.

It was also a chance to show off a new group exercise room, new cycle studio complete with colored disco lights, a new women’s locker room, and new personal training programs.

“I think we bring a new sense of structure to personal training here,” said Erika Dauitch, owner of Athletes Addiction, a company of personal trainers who have worked with student athletes and families to help get them in shape.

Dautich and her company partnered with Powerhouse and have taken over many of the personal training responsibilities at the gym.

“It’s a great partnership that just kind of fell into place,” she added.

Per an agreement with Powerhouse’s corporate office, Kirk said he must only use the Powerhouse and logo in his gym. With few other corporate rules in place, he’s able to add other things not commonly found at other area gyms.

“We’ve added the power lift platform and a chalk tub for lifters to rub their hands in, and we’ve got 200 pound dumbbells on the way,” he said.

Perhaps he’s most proud of a 10×6 U.S. flag donated to him by a 90-year-old WWII veteran. It now hands prominently from the ceiling as a point of pride.

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