I literally grew up in fire departments. I thought, ‘This has got to be divinely inspired.’James Krikava, owner of tentatively named Pine Street CrossFit
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield is about to add some muscle to its downtown business lineup.
James Krikava is preparing to open a CrossFit gym in the former Springfield Fire Department. The gym is tentatively named Pine Street CrossFit.
“That has to come back officially from CrossFit (LLC),” said Krikava, a retired firefighter who has targeted May 3 as his business’ opening day. “I was told it could take four to five weeks (for approval) and this is week four so it could be any day. They only thing that could mess it up is if there is another place named Pine Street CrossFit.
“I looked for one and I couldn’t find it.”
Krikava, who worked for the fire department at Fort Stewart for 23 years, signed a lease agreement for the 303 N. Pine St. property during the Downtown Development Authority’s March 15 meeting in the Cottage at Moncrief Square. The City of Springfield recently voted to give the site to the DDA, which officially accepted the offer seconds before Krikava inked the contract.
Krikava lives in Rincon and has been working at CrossFit GroundSpeed as a certified CrossFit coach. CrossFit is a strength and conditioning regimen that consists of functional movement performed at a high intensity level.
“Probably for 10 or 12 years, I thought about starting my own CrossFit gym one day if I ever got the opportunity,” he said.
The opportunity awaited in Springfield’s abandoned fire department building. It was left vacant in the wake of a 2015 merger with Effingham County Fire & Rescue.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Krikava said. “I literally grew up in fire departments. I thought, ‘This has got to be divinely inspired.’
“Everything just kind of fell into place and now we are ready.”
City Manager Matt Morris is excited about Krikava’s plans for the 4,000 square feet of space. Krikava will have the option to buy it in two years.
“I think his business is exactly what downtown development authorities are meant to do,” Morris said. “With a (city government) and development authority working together like this, you take a building that, right now, has no use but it’s going to go back into private hands and back on the tax digest and create a new business.”
Krikava thinks the old fire department building, built out of cement blocks in the 1970s, is perfectly suited for CrossFit.
“What you need is just a shelter, not a lot of frills and that kind of stuff,” he said. “One of the big advantages of this building is parking and the covered area outside.”
Krikava has lots of cleaning and painting to do before opening. He is also waiting for sheets of rubber to cover the concrete floor.
The gym will feature a lobby area and a room for children to wait while their parents train.
Krikava will lead CrossFit classes. His daughter, Caroline Cramer, will, too. She is also a Level I CrossFit trainer.
“I may have two more trainers. It just depends (on the number of members we have),” Krikava said. “There is a certain amount of risk involved because (CrossFit) is new to this community but I think I will have enough people right off the bat to pay the bills. That’s the main thing.”
Krikava plans to operate from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon on Saturday. The gym will be closed Sundays.
“That will be the initial setup and then we will adjust depending on feedback from the actual athletes,” he said.
Krikava said an unlimited gym membership will cost $125 a month. The price for three-days-a-week membership will be $100.
“We don’t do any contracts. Everything will be month to month,” he said.
Effingham County and Effingham County School District employees will receive a 15 percent discount, he added.
“And the first class is always free,” Krikava said.
Morris, a CrossFit enthusiast, is confident other Springfield businesses will benefit from the Pine Street venture.
“CrossFit is going to bring in people after hours,” he said. “Hopefully, those people stay in the community or go buy dinner while they are here. They will participate (in the economy) while they are here so that’s the draw much the same way the (Mars) theatre is.
“If you keep people after hours, hopefully they will spend some money while they are here. In addition to people spending money to be a member of (Krikava’s) business, it is an absolute win-win.”
In other March 15 action, the DDA and James Carlson entered into a lease agreement for 712 N. Laurel St.