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Ken Mistler

February 22, 2019 - 10:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Next Level Fitness, Ken Mistler, news, batavia, downtown, notify.

nextlevelfeb222019.jpg

After 31 years in the fitness business, owning and operating gyms in Staten Island and Batavia, Ken Mistler says it's time for him to retire for that line of work.

He's sold the building that has been home to Next Level Fitness for 10 years at 85 Main St., Batavia, and the gym will close Feb. 27.

Mistler said he's reached an agreement to sell the massive three-story, 20,000-square-foot building (which includes a 6,800-square-foot basement) to a local investor. He can't disclose who the buyer is or what the buyer plans to do with the building but the new owner will not operate a gym at that location.

"I'm not sure what they're going to do," Mistler said. "I'm not sure if they're going to use the whole building for themselves or cut the building, subdivide the building."

Mistler started in the gym business in Staten Island and then opened Powerhouse Gym on East Main Street in 1997. He still owns that building and all the equipment currently at Next Level. He would like to see somebody open a gym using the existing equipment at the Powerhouse location or see another locally owned gym use this as an opportunity to grow.

"I'm trying to encourage a local small gym in the area to go into that facility so," Mister said, "they will have more options. My customers have said they're looking for options. They're coming to me the last couple of days and asking what else can we do? What do we have available? They're looking for smaller facilities because they aren't a fan of the larger places and they want to keep it local."

Mistler said the closure of Next Level isn't the result of a chain competitor opening in town. He could have competed with a chain if he had wished to make the changes necessary but he didn't want to make those changes after 31 years running gyms, and the real estate offer was attractive and worth taking at this time.

Mister, who owns several downtown properties, and is owner and operator of Ken's Charcoal Pits on Main Street and the local movie theater, Batavia Showtime, said he's grateful for the years of community support for his gym businesses.

"The support has been unbelievable," Mistler said. "If I had to do it over again I would. That's how good the community has been to that facility, especially since I started Next Level, but 31 years in the business is enough."

February 28, 2014 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, downtown, Ken Mistler, Tompkins Insurance.

It seems hard to believe, but Tompkins Insurance has outgrown its space in the Bank of Castile building at 90 Main St., Batavia, according to Executive VP David Boyce.

Boyce confirmed this afternoon that Tompkins is in the process of acquiring the two-story commercial building at the corner of Main and Center streets with the intention of expanding its call center in that location.

"We have had great success in the bank building across the street, but I didn't think we would outgrow it in nine years," Boyce said. "I guess that was a little short-sighted on my part and Jim Fulmer's, but we've had great success hiring great people from the area."

The call center, Boyce said, is a "care center" in Tompkins vernacular. It's where customer service reps field incoming phone calls from the company's 36,000 private insurance clients.

Tompkins is acquiring the building from Ken Mistler, who owns as many as 10 Downtown properties. Its primary tenants are both on the first floor -- WBTA AM-1490 and Optique Optical.

Boyce said he would defer for the time being in sharing the purchase price but said the company will be making a significant investment in renovating the second floor of the structure.

The property at 113 Main St., is assessed at $325,000.

Boyce said the company is likely to apply to Genesee County Economic Development Center for a sales tax exemption on the building renovations and a PILOT on any increase in accessed value.

July 27, 2013 - 6:16pm
posted by Timothy Walton in batavia, business, photo, Ken Mistler, City Slickers.

MTV reality star Chris "CT" Tamburello (left) was at City Slickers Friday night making a guest appearance. He is pictured with City Slickers owner Ken Mistler. CT is known for his role on several MTV television shows including Real World: Paris, The Challenge, Road Rules, and the most current, Rivals, which is currently running on MTV. 

December 13, 2012 - 11:12am
posted by Timothy Walton in batavia, business, Ken Mistler, Next Level Fitness, City Slickers.

'Tis the time of giving and Ken Mistler and his wife Andrea are in the spirit. The Mistlers' recently won $200 for winning the downtown window display contest. The display, located inside the former Carr's building was sponsored by both Next Level Fitness and City Slickers Bar & Grill.

"I want to thank the downtown (improvement) district and all the judges for choosing our window." Ken Mistler said. "We know there are families out there having a hard time and we want to be able to give back to them and give them a little something extra this holiday season."

If you know someone that is deserving please e-mail [email protected] with the name of the person and a brief description of why you think they are deserving. Also be sure to include your contact info as well as their's. You can't nominate yourself.

All nominations must be submitted by Dec. 20th. Winnings will be donated in the form of a Save-A-Lot gift card.

"I'm going to review the nominations  and will decide on the most deserving family or families." Mistler said. "I may give one gift card for the full amount or I may give a few."

September 11, 2012 - 1:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, Ken Mistler.

Ken Mistler has placed a very large flag on the former Carr's building in Downtown Batavia as a 9/11 remembrance.

May 8, 2012 - 9:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Ken Mistler, City Slickers.

Driving down Main Street late this afternoon, I spotted Ken Mistler, left, and Louis Kingsbury and a third person hauling a large painting down the sidewalk. I drove around the block and caught them pulling the painting through the Jackson Street parking lot.

Mistler is installing the painting -- this is one of at least three -- in his new restaurant, City Slickers, the former South Beach.

March 20, 2012 - 11:35pm

A plan for Ken Mistler to remodel the patio of the former South Beach Restaurant on Main Street received glowing reviews and eventual approval from members of the city's Design Review Committee on Tuesday.

The board opened its meeting with a field trip to South Beach were Mistler explained the concept.

Mistler intends to enclose the patio, but use retractable glass panels (something like a garage door made of glass panes) so that he can operate the patio as a bar, dining room and music venue 12 months out of the year.

"We'll close the windows for weather or when it's windy," Mistler said.

The concept has already received a positive recommendation from the Genesee County Planning Board and once the Design Review Committee approves his final plans in 30 days, Mistler will be able to proceed with construction.

Mistler is planning a Southwestern/Western theme with urban flair for the new restaurant and bar. It will be called City Slickers.

While the restaurant continues to cater parties in the basement bar and dining area, Mistler is completely remodeling the inside of the bar and dining area (the new custom-built wooden bars are stunning).

He expects to open City Slickers around the third week of April.

Photo below: Mistler holds a picture of the former Kiwanis Park that was west of South Beach from before Mistler remodeled it to the present patio.

October 26, 2010 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, South Beach, Ken Mistler, Suzanne Corona.

South Beach owner Ken Mistler announced today that he won't require Suzanne Corona to carry a sign in front of the restaurant saying "I stole from South Beach."

"Her sincere apology was restitution enough for me," Mistler said.

Corona, already facing a public lewdness conviction for her part in a sex act at Farrall Park in June, could have been charged with a felony for trashing the South Beach lunch buffet one afternoon last month. To avoid the charge, she signed a contract with Mistler last week admitting her deed and agreeing to carry the sign for four hours.

Mistler said Corona's husband reached out to him through a mutual friend to ask if during the four-hour walk he could be their to protect his wife from public abuse.

"It was at that point that I realized that this affects more than Suzanne," Mistler said. "It affects her whole family. I can't punish her family for something she did."

Reached this afternoon, Corona said she was grateful to Mistler for his decision.

"That is very wonderful of him," Corona said. "I told this to the media before and it got cut out -- he's a very fair man, a nice man and I respect him very much. I can't thank him enough that he's chosen this direction for my family."

After Corona got out of the hospital following an eight-day stay, she immediately came to Mistler ready to sign the contract, Mistler said. He said he figured that was a hard eight days lying in a hospital bed thinking about what she had done and the anticipation of the walk was probably difficult to think about.

He said he didn't feel the need to ask any more of her.

"She never said she wouldn't do the walk," Mistler said.

While Corona is off the hook for the four-hour "walk of shame," Mistler said he is suggesting to her -- only a suggestion -- that she volunteer for four hours with a local agency such as the animal shelter or help with a charity event.

"I've done that before," Corona said. "I've volunteered in soup kitchens. I've volunteered at a hospice. I can certainly do something for him in that regard. I most certainly will."

June 22, 2010 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in animals, cats, Ken Mistler, Carr's.

catplace01.jpg

catplace02.jpgThere are five cats that have the basement of the old Carr's building pretty much to themselves.

The cats wound up in the basement after owner Ken Mistler sold his pet store on East Main Street and the new owners wanted to get out of the cat sale business. Mistler's wife, Andrea, set up the cozy basement apartment and she ensures all of their needs are met.

They have plenty of places to climb and lounge. There's even a ramp to a cat gate that allows them outdoor time in a fenced-off area behind the Carr's building.

Andrea takes care of the cats and besides feeding them and keeping the litter boxes clean, she gives them plenty of affection.

For the cats, the living arrangement is probably more like a penthouse than a basement.

December 2, 2009 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, Ken Mistler, The Daily Grind.

coffeeshop_thedailygrind.jpg

Rob Crede, manager of The Daily Grind on Main and Jackson in Batavia, serves Jim Kujawski on the first day of business for the new coffee shop and juice bar.

Owner Ken Mistler (pictured below) has been preparing for the opening for months, but characterizes this week's opening as "soft" so any kinks can be worked out.  But soft or not, Rob served a steady stream of customers this morning.

Meanwhile, the gym, Next Level, adjacent to the coffee shop, is moving closer to opening in a few weeks.  More pictures follow the jump.

mistler_nextlevel_mural.jpg

Mistler stands in front of an in-progress mural by Vinny Del Plato at the top of the stairway leading to the lower-level workout area and men's locker room.

October 11, 2009 - 4:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ken Mistler, Next Level Fitness.

Next Level Fitness, the new fitness center Ken Mistler has been constructing at the corner of E. Main and Jackson streets, will open Tuesday, Dec. 1, Mistler said in a message on Facebook.

Doors will open for the first time at 8 a.m. on that day.

Memberships will be $19.95 per month with a $14.95 annual fee on a one-year contract.

Child care will be available for $2 for an hour-and-a-half (there will be some restrictions).

Fitness classes will also be available at an additional cost, though Mistler said the cost will be minimal.

There will be a separate workout floor for women.

The facility is completely remodeled inside using quality material. Members will be able to enjoy locker rooms with showers, as well as steam rooms.

September 11, 2009 - 6:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, September 11th, Ken Mistler.

mistler_flag.jpg

As is his tradition, Ken Mistler hung a giant flag on the Carr's Building today to commemorate 9/11.

I spoke with Kenny a bit outside of "The Daily Grind," which will be his new coffee, tea and juice bar at the corner of Jackson and Main streets. He said he's about two weeks from opening because noisy work is still going on inside of the gym he's building adjacent to it.

May 15, 2009 - 2:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in South Beach, Ken Mistler.

I ran into Ken Mistler about 30 minutes ago entering The Insurance Center office on Main Street. He let me know he was closing on his purchase of South Beach, building and restaurant.

Mistler said there are two potential tenants looking at the location, but nothing is firm yet.

April 22, 2009 - 10:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Ken Mistler, Carr's.

There may be a theater, possibly a dinner theater, in the future of the former Carr's Department Store location, if owner Ken Mistler can line up appropriate funding through the BID.

Mistler does not have many specifics on the proposal at this time, but has been working on putting together the project for several weeks.

In response to an e-mail, Mistler said:

I do not have any exact plans until the Engineers get back to me... Engineer hopes to give me my plans/answers early next week.

In a comment on The Batavian, Mislter acknowledged that he paid only $10,000 for the Carr's building, but has spent a good deal of money renovating it.

  • $214,000 on the Jackson Street façade
  • $22,000 on replacing windows
  • $87,000 on the back façade, which helped preserve the structure
  • $58,000 on new roofs
  • $42,000 on the front façade
  • $150,000 on repairs from leaks due to broken pipes (the elevator and dry wall were damaged)
  • $20,000 on a new sprinkler system
  • $15,000 on heating and air conditioning

In another comment, he said:

I offered Old Navy 4 years free rent on a 7-year lease. After 4 attempts they finally replied. They are not currently seeking any type of retail location in your (our) demographic. Now I will look toward entertainment.

April 21, 2009 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, South Beach, Ken Mistler.

southbeachsign.jpg

Ken Mislter, who currently owns 9 buildings in Downtown Batavia by his count, has reached a purchase agreement for the former South Beach Restaurant location.

The deal will close May 1. Mistler said the building will be immediately available to a lessee looking to open a restaurant.  It's turnkey ready, Mislter said.

"The guy (Alex Giuliani) left the salt and the pepper," Mistler said, explaining how the restaurant is ready to open now.

Alex and Barbara left the location in pristine condition, other sources tell me.

The asking price for the building was $425,000. Mistler said he paid something less than that, but won't disclose the price until after it becomes public record. Separately, he also bought all the equipment.
 

Alex and Barbara Giuliani closed the restaurant unexpectedly three months ago, and the abrupt closure was controversial.

April 20, 2009 - 11:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Ken Mistler.

NextLevelGym_downtown.jpg

Ken Mistler gave me a deluxe tour this morning of the gym at the corner of Jackson and Main he hopes to open in about six weeks.

The picture above is of a staircase that will lead to the lower level work out area and men's locker room. Mistler said a previous tenant built the staircase, but when the city would not let the business put an entrance to the building on Jackson, the staircase was floored over.

I copied the photo off the Facebook page Ken set up for Next Level.

Mistler seems to be putting forth the effort to create a first-class gym. The building is being completely renovated with new electrical (an upgrade required by new building codes implemented since the building's 1967 construction), new heating and cooling and such attention to detail as ceiling lights that defuse light so that people laying on a bench lifting weights won't have a bright light shining in their eyes.

There will also be a full sevice coffee bar accessible from Main Street.

The four-level building will also eventually serve as Mistler's home. He's building a residence on the fourth floor.

When I saw how much work is left to be done, I expressed surprise that it would take only six more weeks of work to get the facility open, but Mislter said the hard work is done (he did much of the jack-hammering in the cement floors himself to improve drainage (did you know there is an artesian well under that part of downtown?) and lay in new plumbing in the basement).

Previously, Ken told me a number of membership have already been sold -- and who can argue with the price? People can join for as little as $20 per month.

Mistler's gym looks like it's going to be a great addition to downtown, helping to bring a lot more people into the center of the city on a regular basis.

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