Fitness center fights breast cancer with running, walking event | News

BROOKSVILLE — Like a bodybuilder gaining muscles, Ryan and Kelly Unger’s fitness center business is getting more muscular.

The Ungers have found a strong market for their EPIC Health & Fitness locations and their branded equipment, and they are expanding at a decent pace.

In addition to a new center that opened in St. Petersburg on Oct. 17, they have a franchised facility in Weeki Wachee now, are planning a November opening for another franchised facility in Brooksville, are eyeing a place in Pasco County and have plans for locations in Connecticut.

The Weeki Wachee location has something new for EPIC: an inside walking/running track, so people can walk or run in a climate-controlled environment, Kelly Unger said.

Twenty laps is a mile.

On Oct. 15, EPIC held a Breast Cancer Walk-A-Thon to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.

“It is a really important cause that Kelly and I have,” said co-founder Ryan Unger. “We have family members who have fought and survived breast cancer, so we are big on raising money for it so they can find a cure.”

There were 30 to 50 online signups, Ryan Unger said, and others just came in and made a contribution without walking.

The franchisees for the Weeki Wachee site are a married couple, Tom and Bryn Cromer.

Tom Cromer was a manager for UPS, worked in the pest control field, in real estate and was a professional baseball player whose highest level was Double-A for the Colorado Rockies organization in the early 2000s.

He had an opportunity to be a bullpen catcher for the Atlanta Braves, he said, but Bryn noted that he wouldn’t have met her if he’d done that.

“I wouldn’t have dated a baseball player,” she said with a laugh. 

He laughed, too, adding that there would have been a lot of travel required and it’s a single man’s lifestyle.

The Cromers like working together in their business, they both said. 

“The partnership works really well. She’s got a lot of people and she was in sales for a while,” Tom Cromer said of Bryn. 

They have nearly 1,000 members at the Weeki Wachee location. Some people sign up at one location and then transfer to another location that might be closer or they didn’t know about.

At the walk-a-thon, several people had availed themselves of free donuts and coffee, then began their walks around the gym, having their sheets marked for each lap they did, while other people not participating in the walk-a-thon worked out on the equipment.

Montana Clark of Brooksville has been a member for a couple of months and was making good progress around the track.

“I absolutely love it,” she said of the fitness center. “The owners are great, the gym is amazing.”

She said she was walking to support breast cancer research.

“I’ve had a lot of people in my family fight it,” Clark said. “One of my best friends is a survivor, and we’re supporting a good cause.”

 

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