Among a host of businesses popping up in the Seagate corridor of Oleander Drive, both Urban Fitness and Figments Cottage moved away from shopping centers along Eastwood Road to free-standing locations in the area.
Urban Fitness owner Karon Tunis first admired the roughly 5,000-square-foot space at 5739 Oleander Drive when she moved to Wilmington in 1998 and purchased a sofa at the furniture store that was there at the time.
“I walked into that building to buy a leather sofa and remembered saying it would make an amazing dance studio,” Tunis said.
After she noticed Urban Fitness was outgrowing its space at Lumina Commons, Tunis began looking for another location and finally the Oleander Drive building became available.
“When I was looking for spaces I saw a lot of areas that were doing well like Mayfaire and Landfall, but I wanted to move into an area that could use a little something,” she said. “It is perfect because it is on a main street with a lot of traffic but not hard to access.”
Tunis had to undertake extensive renovations of the building, ultimately transforming it into an eco-friendly space with energy efficient air circulation and water systems. Other improvements included the installation of mahogany laminate flooring specifically designed for gyms and dance studios that provides a lightly cushioned surface.
Urban Fitness is not based on a membership model but instead patrons can sign up for as many or as few personal trainer sessions and classes as they want.
Each month Tunis and her team of personal trainers select one charity to donate a majority of the funds accumulated through the classes. Charities that Urban Fitness has donated to include the Good Shepherd Center and the Communities In Schools Cape Fear’s Wilmington Youth Center for Inspiration, Recreation and Education.
Once a month Tunis also opens up her gym for free to those who may not be able to afford a personal trainer or may be reluctant to hire one.
“Training is one of those things you don’t need to live so I let them know it is not about the money and we want them to enjoy it as well,” Tunis said.
Figments Cottage, which was formerly Figments Gallery in the Landfall Shopping Center, is also relocating to Seagate.
Figments owner Wendy Worden said poor visibility spurred her to look elsewhere for her next location and, like Tunis, she had her eye on her current location for a while.
Worden said the circa 1940s cottage at the corner of Oleander Drive and Sebrell Avenue was the perfect location for Figments to reemerge.
“I would always look at it saying, ‘If I could just get in there,’ and one day it was for sale,” Worden said. “Definitely the visibility is going to be great being on the main drag.”
In addition to artwork, Worden will reopen Figments with artisanal crafts like candles, soaps, purses and more.
The renovation of the cottage has proven extensive with new plumbing, electric and HVAC systems required, but Worden said it has been worth it for the uniqueness of the location.
Worden said Figments Cottage should open in mid-January.
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