You’d be hard pressed to find a business owner more hands-on than Frank Distefano of Maximus Health & Fitness, which opened on East Main Street in Riverhead this spring.
“I personally built every little detail of that gym with my own bare hands,” Distefano saysof an exhausting year-long process renovating the former Woolworth building to create what he hopes will be “the greatest gym ever—a gym that is truly for the people.”
As such, Distefano says he enjoys receiving constructive feedback from his members, no matter the subject. “I’m not scared of criticism,” he says. “This is not a franchise, and my goal is to have a great gym. Since all the money I make here will be going toward that goal, the more support and feedback I get, the better.”
He says working with the town of Riverhead to get everything up and running at Maximus was a breeze. “Our town supervisor, Sean Walter, has been a pleasure to work with. He’s been great every step of the way.” Though construction has slowed at Maximus in the four months since the doors of the 25,000-square-foot exercise emporium opened, Distefano says his work is far from over.
“I’ve got new equipment coming in because I’m determined to keep up with the times on all machinery. We’ll have our saunas operational come October,” he explains.
The smoothie bar blender got quite a workout through the dog days of summer—as co-owner Megan Blanchard affirms, natural juicing is growing in popularity.
“Business is already taking off,” Blanchard says of the gym’s most delicious amenity. “We’re working on recipes for new drinks, but right now ‘The Powerhouse’ is definitely the go-to drink. It’s got peanut butter, chocolate, whey, skim milk and banana in it.”
In coming months, flavored oxygen will be added to the bar menu to make Maximus Health & Fitness the site of the very first permanent oxygen bar on the East End, if not the entire island.
Before the gym’s doors had even opened this May, Blanchard notes that Maximus had already been used as a set for the popular television show Orange Is the New Black, after actress/director Jodie Foster approached management while filming an episode of the HBO original series in Riverhead.
“They just walked in one day and asked if they could shoot,” she says. “They set the place up to look like a little cafe.”
Now, the site is home to many of Riverhead’s finest athletes and other motivated residents, according to Blanchard and Distefano.
“The response has been awesome,” Distefano says. “I’ve been really impressed by how my members respect our gym and its equipment. It only makes me want to do more for them.”
Maximus members can receive private instruction by top-notch personal trainers and participate in fitness classes at the gym, the walls of which will soon be adorned by works created by local graffiti artists and other creators.
Distefano says the inclusion of more unique amenities—like the unisex hair salon that can be found at Maximus—is all part of his original vision for the space.
“When I was designing the gym, I wanted to create a place where people could go to and come out looking brand new,” he explains. “A place where you could not only work out, but get a tan or a haircut as well, so we’re sort of pioneers when it comes to that.”
For rates and more information about Maximus Health & Fitness (130 East Main Street) in Riverhead, visit maximusriverhead.com or call 631-369-6293.