Bryant Street Gym is open for business

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Bryant Street Gym members Taylor Allen and Diego Ramirez utilize some of the facility's expansive equipment options.

Bryant Street Gym, a well-established fitness center in the Ojai community for more than 40 years, is back in business now that gyms have been given the go-ahead to reopen.

Continuing the success of the popular fitness center — owned by Tressa Kahler for more than 20 years — is her daughter, Shanae, and son-in-law Luis Mejia, who bought the Bryant Street Gym earlier this year. 

Since then, the two have been updating and reinventing the gym — Shanae’s home away from home since grade school.

“It’s more important than ever for people to get back into the fitness world,” Shanae said. “It’s very important for people to stay fit and strong and mentally active. We are doing everything possible to make sure people have a safe and inviting environment to work out in and maintain their fitness.”

Since Public Health guidelines allow gyms to operate at 10% capacity indoors, the Bryant Street Gym has added an outdoor fitness center, equipped with free weights, monkey bars, TRX bands, tires, a pull-up station, battle ropes, and more.

Shanae practically grew up at the gym, counting money and filing contracts in the fifth grade. By middle school, she worked at the front desk and continued working at the gym through college while earning a degree in registered nursing. Shanae still works as a registered nurse in the operating room at Community Memorial Hospital.

Prior to being a nurse, Shanae taught Zumba at the gym and promotes exercise as a key to health. One of her goals is to bring preventive health awareness to the community and educate residents on the benefits of an active lifestyle. “There is nothing more important than preventive health measures and keeping people physically active, healthy, and happy,” she said. “Starting young and continuing through late adulthood keeps one from expensive medical treatments and bills — not to mention the wonderful physical aspects of fitness, leaving people feeling better about themselves physically and mentally.”

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 The Bryant Street Gym provides a full set of free weights, weighted equipment, cardio machines, and an outdoor functional training center. It also offers group fitness classes, personal training, private pilates instruction, Watsu therapy, and other massage services. 

“Bryant Street Gym wants to be a full-service fitness center in Ojai offering great prices, so our community members have a fully-functioning gym at their fingertips in the valley,” Shanae said. “The staff creates a unique environment where members feel at home for their workouts.”

The Bryant Street Gym is now a family affair since she met her husband, Luis — a lifelong bodybuilder — at the gym, where they work together. They now have three children.

The couple decided: “Since we both had such a great connection to the gym, we could not simply see it be closed. We decided we would love nothing more than to continue its legacy for the community.”

Shanae explained that they “strive to provide a place for people in Ojai to have a joining place with other like-minded people who seek a healthier lifestyle and want to empower each other.”

As a longtime member of the Bryant Street Gym, Luis said he knows the positive impact a gym can have on community members and is working hard to ensure they continue to have a local, gym to help them reach their fitness goals.

“We want to be a full-service fitness center in Ojai offering great prices,” Shanae said.  “Community members have welcomed the reopening of the gym, which allows them to stay in town to get their gym fix.

“Members who have been part of the gym for years say they can’t find anything else that resembles the Bryant Street Gym,” Shanae said. “The staff creates a unique environment where members feel at home for their workouts and cherish all their visits here. The equipment is perfect for getting the job done.”


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