Evanston resident to open CrossFit gym


Andrew Seng/The Sacramento Bee/TNS

A CrossFit trainer demonstrates decline pushups. A new CrossFit gym may be opening on Dodge Avenue in Evanston.

Amelia Langas, Reporter

A new CrossFit training facility may open in Evanston’s 2nd Ward to provide residents with an additional workout option.

Evanston resident Tani Mintz, who is looking to open the gym on Dodge Avenue, said CrossFit is “the most effective way to perform functional fitness,” and involves working out in a broad range of fitness areas like gymnastics, weightlifting and cardio. Mintz said she hopes to open the new facility in August.

Mintz said she was a speedskater for 10 years beginning when she was 17 years old, and she competed in three Olympic Trials for the U.S. Speedskating team. Six months after she stopped skating, she said, she began CrossFit training.

“When I started CrossFit I was hooked immediately because I got to be an athlete again and I could coach,” Mintz said. “The more involved I got with CrossFit … I started seeing a lot of things that gyms were doing that I felt like I could do them, but I could do them better.”

Mintz said the CrossFit community drove her to want to start her own gym. She said she wanted to lead a CrossFit community that focused not only on “getting fit,” but also on giving back.

Many of Mintz’s friends and family supported her while she was speedskating live in the Skokie-Evanston area, she said, so she wanted to start a business in that area. Mintz said she hopes the gym will allow people to set goals and reach them, much like she does.

“There is so much potential to bring so many communities together,” Mintz said. “Not just young communities … but also the older generations, too.”

Paul Zalmezak, Evanston’s senior economic development coordinator, said the “trend” for businesses now is toward “food, fitness and finance,” and Mintz’s business would fall into the fitness category.

Zalmezak said a CrossFit facility in one of the vacant spaces along Dodge Avenue would be a “good re-use” of the space.

“The Dempster and Dodge corridor has really come around over the last couple years … (the CrossFit facility) would be a good complement to that area,” he said.

He also said the opening of the facility would benefit the area surrounding Dodge Avenue, providing residents with a convenient gym location and somewhere to spend money in their own neighborhood.

Zalmezak said Mintz’s business model does not depend on her gym having hundreds of customers, but instead focuses on training no more than 10 people at any given time.

“People are spending more time in smaller gyms and (Mintz) is filling that niche,” he said. “In the short run this is definitely a trend and we’re going to see more of it … you can’t work out online. You have to go somewhere to work out.”

Melissa Klotz, Evanston’s zoning planner, said in an email she had received Mintz’s application, but it had yet to be processed. She also said the gym requires a Special Use Permit — which must be approved by City Council — for a Commercial Indoor Recreation Facility.

Klotz said the case is tentatively scheduled for the Zoning Board of Appeals on June 6.

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Twitter: @amelialangas