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."