SALEM, N.H. — To expand their gym at the “premier lifestyle destination” among large national and international businesses is a dream come true for Salem business owners Jake Bosse and Tony Hajjar.
“We are a small business — we are up at 3 a.m. every day, and there are lots of late nights — and to be building our business alongside other national and international companies is great for us as young entrepreneurs,” said Bosse, co-owner of Drive Custom Fit.
The two 41-year-olds who grew up playing little league in Lawrence together started their gym in a 4,500 square-foot space in Methuen in 2015.
Drive Custom Fit is one of the latest businesses to announce signing its lease agreement in Tuscan Village — the 170-acre mixed-use development that restaurateur-turned-developer Joe Faro is carefully curating. National retailers L.L. Bean, Old Navy and Ulta Beauty, restaurants Pressed Café and Chipotle Mexican Grill, and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank have also signed leases recently, Tuscan Village has announced.
Faro’s planned “super destination” received the bulk of its project approvals in June from the Planning Board. Currently in construction are the Hanover Apartment buildings, a medical office, and the first phase of retail operations in Tuscan Village — also known as Tuscan Village South, Faro said. He added more lease agreements will be announced and contractors are expected to state pouring concrete in the spring.
Some residential buildings, Market Basket and HomeSense have already opened in the development.
As for deciding what retail to include in the village, Faro is focusing on attracting retailers that are “really about the experiences,” he said, explaining that retail is not necessarily about the shopping any more.
L.L. Bean will be situated on the 6-acre lake in Rockingham Park that was originally used to help keep the horses hydrated, Faro said. The outdoor retailer’s access to lake that is large enough to be used for sport will be large enough for them to use for demonstrations and activities, he explained.
L.L. Bean stores often offer outdoor events and activities for their customers, said spokesman Eric Smith. The store in the Seaport of Boston is just a block away from the water where people can try equipment like kayaks or paddleboards during the summer months, he said.
The company is still planning just how to use the outdoor space at Tuscan Village, Smith said.
Faro added fly fishing is even a possibility because the lake will be stocked with fish.
Developers called on the Department of Environmental Services carefully remove and catalogue the 677 fish that were living in the spring-fed lake before being relocated into a nearby stream, Faro said.
“We probably can’t re-catch the ones that we let go,” Faro joked. “But there will be fish.”
As for anchoring the property with the locally-owned gym, Faro said it was also part of building the experience of the village. He’s been impressed with Drive Custom Fit’s growth and approach.
“Jake and Tony have done an unbelievable job in creating a new fitness model,” Faro said.
Drive Custom Fit currently has four fitness classrooms in their 16,000 square-foot space where about 500 classes take place a month, Bosse said. The amount of classrooms will be doubled in the new 25,000 square-foot space in Tuscan Village, allowing for more classes to be taught simultaneously while offering different experiences in each classroom.
“We’ve been able to keep some of our design from (our current location at) the Coke Plant,” Bosse said. He explained that while the current space isn’t at capacity, the business is still growing day by day and the owners want to be able to expand on what is being offered, which includes an outdoor turf area that can be used in the warmer months.
Inside, they are expanding the one heated classroom to be a heated zone in the new facility because classes in that room currently sell out daily, Bosse said. They are expanding the cafe area, and child care areas as well, he added.
There will still be garage doors to help let a breeze in during the summer, but there will also be fireplaces to keep the gym feeling cozy in the winter, Bosse said.
There will also be treatment rooms, so gym members can get sports therapy treatments like messages and acupuncture.
Bosse is excited to be able to offer these amenities to the customers who have been a supportive community to him and his business partner create such a gym experience.
L.L. Bean expects to be open in the fall of 2020. Drive Custom Fit expects to relocate to Tuscan Village later next winter.