Three years ago when Dave Greene leased a space for CrossFit Spero in Oak Park, Illinois, he was already eyeing another property.
This year, he made the decision to move to the property he had set his sights on 36 months ago. “In many ways, this is the original vision for Spero,” said Greene. “This buildout is entirely my concept. I had the opportunity to build the space around the function of the gym and the plans we have for growth.”
Located in an open warehouse that’s been vacant for two decades, there’s been a lot to consider in the process. One large aspect has been layout of equipment. In the previous location, Spero was limited by floor space. Now, Greene can add the equipment he needs while not severely limiting classes.
A free-standing Rogue Monster Lite Rig, ropes and rings hanging from the rafters, another GHD, turf for sleds, and Assault AirBikes are the first items on Greene’s list of equipment to purchase. “Space is a huge consideration in the new facility,” said Greene. “We will finally be able to open up to do things like shuttle runs, long sled pulls/pushes, yoke walks and get some legitimate rope climbs in.”
Greene said the most difficult thing about his old space were columns that resided in the middle of the floor. He had to work the pull-up rig around them. So with his new space, he’s learned there has to be a place for everything. “The main goal is to keep an open and inviting feeling in the space while keeping equipment close enough so it doesn’t become a chore to go get a medicine ball,” he said.
Storage of equipment is another factor to consider. The new facility shares a wall with a neighbor, and it will be the main storage place. “It has a series of niches which are perfect for built-in and bought shelving — which is great, because it allows equipment storage to be functional and flow with the design,” said Greene. “All the stowed equipment will be visible but not in the way. I really like the opportunity to have some built-in storage because we plan to have lots of natural wood and brick features. And it allows us to keep with the design.”
For Greene, he said one of his biggest suggestions is to be flexible and open when it comes to equipment layout. While a rig smack dab in the middle might be an impressive sight, it can also limit your options for activities. “Personally, I love to see a big open floor space. To me, it represents potential,” he shared.
Equipment doesn’t mean just barbells and medicine balls either. It can also include anything that achieves the goal of your space — for Greene, that means keeping it cozy, inviting, and familiar while being open and functional. Even more than that, it means sweating the small stuff.
“Your equipment pieces aren’ the only items you use to work out and train your members,” he said. “Is there a bench for them to sit down and change their shoes when they walk in the door? Are the disinfectant wipes hidden in a corner? Is there a bottle filler for members? Is the retail area well thought out and attractive? Where do your members chill and have a refreshing beverage post WOD? You get the idea. It is these small touches that make or break what I would consider a beautifully designed and truly functional space.”