Accelerate Fitness: A venture to complete a dream

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2016

After once working in a gym environment complete with a physical therapist, massage therapist and chiropractor, Salisbury’s Delaine Fowler knew exactly what she wanted to do. She first discussed the possibility of purchasing The Forum in Lexington in August of 2015, then sealed the deal in October. The pieces were in place to complete her dream.

Owner of Fowler Physical Therapy in Salisbury, Fowler has a doctorate in physical therapy. Her clinic staff was behind the plan to buy The Forum, even though they knew that Fowler would initially spend lots of time in Lexington. There was much work to be done to renovate the gym to fulfill her vision.

Fowler said, “The previous owner had hired well. The Forum staff and members loved the place and wanted to keep it going. I decided to rebrand the business as Accelerate Fitness. The gym is a diamond in the rough with much work to do. But there is a certain synergy to the place. It has been an exciting process to this point.”

Though often working 16-hour days, things are coming together for Fowler. Over the past few weeks, the heating and air vents have been cleaned, the child care area has new carpet and paint and extensive computer work has been done to better capture the current membership. Work continues on the new website that will allow anyone to book classes and join the gym online. She also plans to reconfigure and update the entry area, including an inviting juice bar. Fowler said, “We’ll eventually have a lounge area set up near the door so that anyone can stop in to pick up a healthy shake or juice mixture whether they are a member or not.”

Other plans include repainting much of the gym area in the Accelerate Fitness colors, updating much of the current upholstery on the workout machines and improved spin bikes. A new media package will include larger TVs with state-of-the-art electronic capabilities. New LED lighting will be installed soon.

The Forum had previously established itself as a 24-hour gym, which Fowler plans to continue. She said, “Currently, we are not staffed around the clock though I will change that once gym traffic improves in the lesser hours. Members pay a slightly higher rate to access the gym around the clock.”

Though the gym is the centerpiece of the new business, one of the attractions to Fowler was the space for the physical therapy buildout. She plans a three-bay PT area, complete with a new lowered ceiling that will help keep the gym noise out. Brittany Clodfelter, a three-year employee at Fowler PT in Salisbury, will eventually head that effort at Lexington once she returns from pregnancy leave in July.

Fowler and Clodfelter plan a unique program for those who are treated with physical therapy at Accelerate Health, the overarching company that includes Accelerate Fitness. Fowler said, “PT is the first line of cure for many people. It is the conservative course of care, providing healing without the use of medication, injections or surgery. What will make us unique is that one of our therapists can walk a patient out into the gym area and work with a personal trainer to suggest specific workouts to improve healing and well-being. We can explain limitations and get them started right here. I plan to give 30 days of free gym membership to those who have been healed by our therapists.”

Before deciding to complete the deal to purchase The Forum facility, Fowler had input from Matt Marsh from the Forum in Salisbury. Eventually, Marsh and Rayna Gardner, general manager at the Salisbury location, trained Kim Fesperman for her duties as manager of the Accelerate Fitness location.

Just as important to Fowler was the buy-in from her Fowler PT staff back in Salisbury. She said, “I laid out my plans to them. The current staff was quick to tell me that they were behind me on this. That served as the tipping point so that I could move forward. Currently, I am working Mondays and Wednesdays in Salisbury and Tuesdays and Thursdays in Lexington. I plan Fridays for an admin day, but that doesn’t always work out.” Fowler Physical Therapy has seven employees in Salisbury and Accelerate Fitness has 15 in Lexington.

Fowler is married to Alan and they are the parents of two sons. She said, “Alan is all in. So are the boys’ wonderful grandparents. All of them have helped to make Accelerate Fitness possible. This is my dream and I want to do it right. As always, I want to maintain a profitable business that is ethical, treats each patient right and is well thought of in the community.”

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