New Shops Opening Even In Tough Times

LA MESA – There is a truism in small business development that says recession offers a new business an opportunity; the first few quarters of any new business are difficult so why not get them out of the way when more established competitors are struggling and may have pulled in their own marketing horns.
That may be why you see even amid this challenging business climate, some new sprouts growing in the La Mesa business community.

Two new businesses – The Village Gym in the La Mesa Village area and Lake Murray Fitness – are part of a trend toward new, smaller specialty workout shops.

The other – Fashion Kiss -- is the creation of a young woman who was finding success selling clothes on line and decided to bring her talents to a brick and mortar location just a few doors down from Jitters.

VILLAGE GYM: Managing owner Dave Dunlap was busy Saturday stocking the water cooler in his new establishment, located just west of the trolley line on La Mesa Boulevard.

Dunlap, who spent some years overseeing La Mesa’s numerous 24-Hour Fitness establishments, is leading the charge of some in his profession who are developing new, smaller, less expensive neighborhood fitness services.

Dunlap, and his partner personal trainer Shawn Townsend (pictured right), hope to attract La Mesans who prefer a more intimate, neighborhood location and more personalized service.
“I originally thought about doing a number of these,’’ Dunlap said. “But I’ve decided just to run this shop, keep the overhead low, the prices low and work here.’’

The Village Gym doesn’t have the imposing profile of the 24-Hour Fitness and LA Fitness locations, but once inside it is surprisingly roomy. There are classroom spaces in an upstairs loft area and a children’s room under construction in the rear of the facility.

Dunlap most recently was working in Coronado but chose to build his own business in La Mesa when he found this location. “I also love the charm of the Village area,’’ Dunlap said. He’s taking a five year lease and expects the full facility to be built out and complete in the next two months.

LAKE MURRAY FITNESS – Tucked away just off Lake Murray Boulevard near Baltimore, Lake Murray Fitness is the product of another long-time personal trainer Garan Smith (right)  who is sold on the value of more personalized service.

“There is much more personalized service here than you’ll find in the big box gym facilities,’’ Smith said while working one-on-one with a young female client Saturday morning. “That’s why I built this place.’’

Smith, who has worked in places big and small over the last 22 years, opened his business in January and has a ten year lease on the location. The facility -- its website is http://www.lakemurrayfitness.com/ -- is small but clean and stylish, feeling more like a spa with gym equipment than a traditional sweat shop. This is a prototype of the new boutique workout locales.


FASHION KISS – Michella Dresselhuys originally was looking for a hair salon with extra space for her clothing displays when she found the small shop at 4697 Date Avenue. She had been selling her clothing line on the Internet but in October decided to try the more traditional route.

“I didn’t think I could afford a shop by myself,’’ Dresselhuys said. “But then I found this space it has worked well.’’
Dresselhuys said she expected to see young juniors and ladies but has found the clientele of her new shop to extend to the 40, 50 and 60 year olds as well. She has done limited marketing -- her website is www.myfashionkiss.com -- but finds she’s been able to attract a clientele from the many passers by that walk the La Mesa Village area.

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Tags: Business, Fashion Kiss, Lake Murray Fitness, The Village Gym

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Comment by La Mesa Chamber of Commerce on February 19, 2011 at 4:05pm

Welcome to the community from the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce.

Mary England, CEO

Comment by Karen Pearlman on February 19, 2011 at 3:39pm
Likin' the new businesses opening up in La Mesa!!

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