At the end of a long, dim hallway stands a wall painted with vibrant colors and big lettering. This is how members of Knight’s Gym know they are home.
The gym, situated at the southern border of East Falls, brings an intimate fitness experience catering to those who embrace the inner-city lifestyle. The gyms walls are covered with graffiti-like artwork that embodies its rugged persona.
“I’m from Germantown – I grew up not too far from here where my gym is,” said owner Tommy Knight.
Knight became passionate about fitness nearly 10 years ago after a friend insulted his small frame. His gym has now been open for 15 months and has shown signs of constant growth.
“I’ve been working here for about five months and it seems as if we get new sign ups everyday,” said Victoria Paulin, who manages the gym’s daily operations.
Many of the gym’s members commented on the family Knight’s Gym has already created.
“Tommy brings everyone together, and I come to this gym because of the good atmosphere,” said longtime member Rasheed Grant. “Plus, they use all steel equipment. Very good quality.”
Although the gym has been doing well, Knight’s Gym aims to do more than simply provide a place to work out.
“In the near future, we’re working on implementing some scheduled classes to increase our impact in the community,” Paulin said. “Our culture is known to have a high diabetes rate and for being overweight. We need more gyms in the black community.”
Knight hopes to contribute to that issue with expansion.
“I want to have one of these gyms in every major city in the country and then I want to branch out to different cities in the world,“ Knight said.
He understands he cannot help the community at-large all by himself and urges more African-American citizens to start their own programs and business that will improve the community.
“Figure out what your passionate about, go to wherever you need to find the resources and information to get you in the right direction and just put a plan in motion,” Knight said.
-Text, images and video by Fletcher Jones.