Development is under way for the new Dollar General Store that will offer more grocery items, and it appears the business may have a new neighbor in the form of a fitness center.
Dollar General will move from its present location on Sunset a bit to the east to South Admire.
The city of El Reno agreed to close that portion of South Admire as a way to make the area more pedestrian-friendly.
Featuring a wider assortment of groceries and various other goods, the store is expected to move within a few months, possibly in October.
At the same time, the former Save-A-Lot building will be refitted to make room for Shape Fitness, a 24/7 fitness center.
The building was originally built in 1961 as a Safeway grocery store. It transitioned to other grocery stores over the years, but has set mostly vacant other than providing space for Dollar General on the west side of the building.
Shape Fitness plans to utilize the entire building and major renovations are planned, said the owner of the fitness business. A wall separating the current Dollar General and the rest of the building will be removed, along with the drop ceiling. This will open up 20,000 square feet to be used by Shape Fitness.
“I think it will look beautiful once it’s finished,” said Andy Copeland, owner of the Shape Fitness franchise.
Copeland said he drove through El Reno about a year ago and saw the building. He said El Reno is a great town and would be the perfect location for a new gym.
“I haven’t seen too many communities like El Reno,” Copeland said. “It has a really dense population, and I think this location could make it a great gym for 30 years or more.”
Copeland already knew the owner of the building, Dan Dill, an El Reno businessman. When they began discussing the project, Dill had already been planning to expand the Dollar General with a new building. Copeland said he is in the process of buying the building where he will put in Shape Fitness. Dill could not be reached for comment by press time.
Copeland said he has been in the health club business for more than 20 years. His company owns five locations in Oklahoma and three in Arkansas. The company also installs software in gyms across the country.
Copeland said the Shape Fitness gym will feature state-of-the-art equipment, and the El Reno location will feature a collection worth around $1 million. Shape Fitness El Reno will have dumbbells, weight machines, Cross Fit systems, spray tanning and tanning beds, an indoor family playground and other pieces of fitness equipment.
Copeland said the club will also feature cardio equipment and treadmills with integrated screens, allowing users to watch training videos while they exercise.
Copeland said the operation will offer special training programs for golfers, basketball players and other athletes.
Group classes and personal training programs are also available.
The price range for Shape gym membership varies. Memberships can range from $19.50 to $80 per month.
Members will have 24/7 access to the building, and they will be able to reach the corporate help desk anytime day or night, Copeland said.
The gym is expected to create "15 to 20 new jobs" in El Reno. Employees at other Shape locations will likely work at the new location temporarily until the positions are filled by local people.
“We’re really working to ‘wow’ the community,” Copeland said.
“I think it will help revitalize the downtown area. A lot of people go to gyms, and it brings in a lot of traffic that will help out other businesses.”