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AE FIT 716 will “pump you up” in Black Rock

Susan Cholewa’s retrofitted filling station at 479 Amherst Street has landed a tenant. Cholewa embarked upon this restoration project six years ago, knowing all along that some day the fruits of her labors would pay off.

Back in November of 2019, we ran a post on her unveiling of the dream project, along with noting her aspiration to identify potential tenants. After hearing about a few different potential candidates, Cholewa finally selected AE FIT 716 as her lucky tenant.

Cholewa feels that this is the perfect fit for Black Rock. As the district continues to enjoy a renaissance, what better asset to bring to the table than a place that will get residents fit? “A place of self improvement,” as Cholewa puts it.

And that’s exactly what Cholewa did to her building. She built it up.

“She did an amazing job with the building,” said April Ersing (hence the name of her business – AE FIT 716). “I had been scouting locations for a while, and it was while driving on my way to Wegmans that I saw the space. I looked in the window and loved it.”

Now, some might think that during COVID, a fitness hub might not be prime time due to CDC guidelines. But Ersing pointed out that Governor Cuomo is in the midst of drafting the new guidelines that will be in place for gyms, which could open as soon as August 24. With that in mind, Ersing is hoping that AE FIT 716 will have its Open House on September 7th, with a Grand Opening after that.

“There is an extreme demand for fitness equipment because of the pandemic,” Ersing told me. “So I’m waiting for my equipment to come in. I’ve been planning this for a year. It’s my first fitness facility – I was in the coffee shop business in a prior life. But I started working out 13 years ago. Then I became a trainer in 2016, and began working at gyms. You might say that I’m obsessed. I’m fortunate that I found what I’m really meant to be doing. Now I want to create a comfortable, fun, exciting, and enjoyable workout environment for people that is not at all intimidating.”

Currently, until the fitness studio is open, Ersing is hosting a series of pop-up classes in Black Rock, near Wegmans. “I am so happy to be back doing this,” she told me. “I’ve been hosting the pop-ups for about a month. Being alone and isolated during the pandemic was tough – I missed the energy. The outdoor classes lit me up and motivated me.”

Ersing leads a class on the basketball court at the backside of Wegmans, along Scajaquada Creek

Once open at 479 Amherst Street, Ersing will be running a couple of different types of training and fitness classes. Due to COVID, and people’s hectic schedules, she will offer hybrid classes – 60% on site and 40% live streaming. With an “unlimited package” clients can choose whether they want to work out at the fitness center, or at home. They can also decide “on the fly,” which makes it easy to catch the classes “…even if a babysitter doesn’t show up, or the car is in the shop.”

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing all of this motivational energy come to Amherst Street, in a building designed to “pump you up.”

Anyone looking to jump onboard with this program can start by getting in tune with the outdoor pop-ups (classes are $5). Or if you want to know more about the history of the former filling station, you can Click here.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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