Fitness Factory Enters Township Health Club War With Secret Weapon

The space in the Cedar Grove Center that will soon become a Fitness Factory.

The township’s health club war is about to intensify this summer, with the projected late-summer opening of a Fitness Factory in the Cedar Grove Plaza on Cedar Grove Lane.

Actually, the name of the center will be Fitness Factory powered by Meridian, a result of a partnership between the North Jersey based fitness company and Meridian Health.

Partnering with the health care company that owns a number of hospitals in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties is a new concept for the 20-year-old business that has four other locations in New Jersey and one planned for Yonkers, N.Y.

“We’re a complete wellness center, we’re doing a diametric change as to the way people are approaching fitness, with the help of Meridian,” said Rich Scarpati, one of the Fitness Factory’s owners.

“It’s not just a gym,” he said. “We’re helping people live better and longer and of course healthier.”

The center is taking the 20,000 square-foot space that had been occupied by NY Sports Club and an affiliated sports nutrition product business until both left several years ago.

The Fitness Factory will offer the traditional equipment found in gyms, bit will also feature specialized equipment to fulfill its “wellness center” mission, Scarpati said.

“In having a different setup for wellness, we’re going to have a different variation in equipment, we’re going to have some of the traditional equipment, the treadmills, weights and etc.,” he said. “We’ll also have equipment that helps on the cardio side”

He said the center will use brands such as Octane and NuStep elliptical machines “that are made to keep stress off joints and knees, and perhaps for someone who is post-operative.”

Fitness Factory trainers will also be available to help members with equipment such as TRX Suspension straps, he said.

The club will also offer a juice bar, saunas, private steam showers and a line of packaged gourmet meals, Scarpati said.

He said the meals will be priced at about $10 each.

“It’s high end, salmon and steaks and things that are prepared on a gourmet level,” he said.

While some of the Fitness Factory’s clientele will be Meridian patients who have been referred to the center, the center will also sell memberships, Scarpati said.

“There will be a general membership, then layers, depending on what your needs are,” he said.

“Perhaps you might be a guy who’s a heavy workout-goer and you want to take things on your own,” he said. “That’s fine, there’s a type of membership that’s there for you, it’s the no-frills portion of it. However, if you’re someone that needs greater help, or you’re in need of coaching or you’re in need of some personal training, or you’re in need of some group training,” add-ons would be attached to the basic membership.

The portion of the space that was the nutritional products store “is going to be a private type of group training here someone that has chosen to take on group training would also have a private entrance club to do their group training, augmented with their regular workouts to fit their fitness goal,” Scarpati said.

Basic memberships will probably start at $19.99 a month, he said. Add-ons will range from about $10 to $49 or $59 per month.

“If you want a class, it’ll be a $10 bolt-on, but there will be 50 classes a week, so you’ll get your $10 worth over the month,” he said.

Fitness Factory joins a healthy roster of fitness clubs in the township, but Scarpati said he and his partner believe that their partnership with Meridian Health will give them an edge.

“This marriage with Meridian is something special and the fact that we’ll be giving a product that the customers will immediately be able to evaluate and understand, I think it will be a different experience, and at the right price I think it will set us apart,” he said.

Scarpati said he could employ as many as 50 people, many of them part-timers.

“Anyone who’s touching people, they’re all certified,” he said. “We look for the highest certifications. And I pay for additional certifications and re-educations and continuing credits.”

Scarpati said he and his partner, his cousin Dennis Cieri, hope to open by late July or early August. He said the hours are expected to be 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.


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