There weren’t any health club chains in Riverside 30 years ago. And, Riverside’s Canyon Crest Shopping Centre was sparsely developed– remember Alpha Beta?
On Saturday, what is now Canyon Crest Athletic Club, turns 30. Some Riversiders will remember the days when it was Roman Gabriels, and before the club even opened memberships were being sold from a trailer next to the construction site. It wasn’t long after that when Jeff Gabrielson stopped by to fill out an application. “I never dreamed I’d be the general manager someday,” says Gabrielson. Six years into his job that’s exactly what happened.
“My earliest memory was meeting Roman Gabriel and talking with him for about 45 minutes or so,” recalled Gabrielson, who is a football fan. He says Gabriel was a hero of his as a member of the former Los Angeles Rams. “We talked about football,” says Gabrielson. And according to Gabrielson, “there was some joking about our last names being kind of similar.”
Gabrielson says he’s seen his share of fitness trends over the years. “When we opened raquetball was huge, and then basketball took off, so we converted two of our courts for basketball.” And cardio routines have seen their phases too. “In the 1980’s it was Jazzercise, I mean that was huge until about 1995, now it’s making a comeback, but it’s Zumba, that’s been amazing,” says Gabrielson. He’s also added so-called “body pump” classes where people use barbell weights and music to achieve a whole-body workout.
As for the competition, Gabrielson says he hasn’t worried about it much. “We’re just one location, we serve a group of loyal Riversiders, I’m starting to see the kids of our original members.” And, he motions to the lobby, “look at how much space I have devoted to selling memberships, there’s none, just the front counter. We sell annual memberships, or month-to-month memberships. We want you to be here because you want to be here, not because you’re locked into a multi-year contract.”
–InstantRiverside.com by C. Fiegener
Friday, September 24, 2010
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