SHELLSBURG — A fully equipped, round-the-clock fitness center may seem unlikely in a town with a population of just under 1,000, but Kristine and Bob Shultis found a niche in their corner of Benton County.
“We have a bit of a rush in the mornings, before work,” Bob said one morning this week at Train Station Family Fitness in Shellsburg. “Some come after work, and then kind of scattered through the day we get a bunch of young people, self-employed people who work odd hours.”
Train Station grew out of Shultis’ frustration over the inconvenience of working out at a Cedar Rapids fitness club — about a 30-minute drive — after the couple moved to Shellsburg 11 years ago.
There was a privately operated gym in town, but its hours were unpredictable.
“I’ve been driving by this building and I never saw cars outside it,” Kristine recalled. “So I approached the owner about whether he was still running this gym. He said, ‘Kind of, but I’ve moved to Des Moines and my parents are kind of taking it over.’”
Kristine Shultis has worked as a massage therapist since 1997, specializing in treating chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and migraine headaches. She incorporated her practice, Whole Earth Natural Health, into the new venture.
“I work with a lot of people who, after their workouts, need a little to recover,” she said. “I do a lot of rehabilitation for knee replacements.”
The Shultises bought the facility in late 2015. They renovated the gym, added some equipment and opened Train Station Family Fitness Jan. 1, 2016. They’re the sole employees and staff.
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“The equipment that was already here was generally pretty good,” Bob noted. “We’ve added some amenities. Most of it was cosmetic.”
“We painted and cleaned up the place,” Kristine added.
Bob, a self-described “gym rat,” has been an avid weightlifter, including some competitive events, “pretty much my entire adult life.” Before launching Train Station, he worked as a parts-supply manager for Clipper WIndpower in Cedar Rapids.
Train Station draws from Palo, Atkins, Vinton and Urbana, according to the couple. The facility is open 24 hours — members have card-key access when it’s not staffed — and offers classes in gentle yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and Tae Kwon Do, in which Kristine holds a black belt.
“Most people want to kind of do their own thing,” Bob said, although he often advises members on weight training.
“People do ask for certain classes, but it just isn’t cost-effective or in time when you’ve got one or two people,” he said. “We like to get four or five people to make it worth the time.”
Video workouts played on the training room’s large monitor are one solution.
“You can bring in your own videos and do them in here,” Kristine said.
She also devises workout routines distributed to members via social media.
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AT A GLANCE
l Owner: Kristine and Bob Shultis
l Business: Train Station Family Fitness
l Address: 202 Smith St, Shellsburg
l Phone: (319) 521-4185
l Website: trainstationfamilyfitness.com