When Tony Joseph drove past the empty Walnut Ridge, he envisioned something more: a multi-service athletic facility.
“When I walked into the building, I could see exactly what I wanted the rooms to become,” Joseph said. “I knew this was something I could provide to the community that we didn’t have.”
That vision is now a reality. It’s Time Fitness provides conventional gym services such as a weight room and fitness class room, and additional amenities such as a salon, practice room for athletes, and a martial arts studio rented by Richard Lee Morris.
The final part of Joseph’s goal, softball fields, are opening in May.
It’s Time has been several years in the making. Back in 2010, Walnut Ridge Elementary School closed as part of a reorganization of the Ellwood City school district. The building was up for bids for several years before Joseph could acquire it.
Joseph, a Walnut Ridge resident, realized the building had the potential to offer something to the children and young adults of Ellwood City.
To start with, Joseph is a fast-pitch softball coach, and the team had no consistent playing field. Ellwood softball depended on other fields that came with schedule conflicts. He wanted to provide the budding program with its own home field that would always be available.
When one walks into the Walnut Ridge, they’re in for a surprise. Instead of a school with exercise machines in place of desks, Joseph has renovated the building into something completely different, creating a top quality, professional fitness atmosphere.
Beth Boffo, Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, commented, “Clients can be sure they are getting the best workout they can at affordable rates. Tony is truly passionate about his facility and his members, and he can often be found in the weight room providing assistance and encouragement to each and every member.”
The weight room is equipped with Hammer Strength machines. “Hammer Strength is what the four major sports use in Division I athletics,” Joseph said.
There is also a fitness room, which currently hosts RIP, yoga, and various other class. The room is decked out with full mirrors, a rubber floor, a stage and surround sound.
Joseph is especially excited about an upcoming class: mini-trampolining. The routine, which started in the Czech Republic, has been gaining popularity in the United States.
The dedicated faculty provides a positive and educational experience. “I love the support and the motivation the members and staff have for each other,” Boffo said. “Everyone pushes each other to do their best in a fun, positive, non-judgmental environment. I call this my fun job because it never feels like work. It feels amazing to be a small part of such a positive component of another person’s day.”
To focus on It’s Time Fitness, Joseph sold his sporting goods store, T-Time, to The Eric Ryan Corporation in February. The store will be relocated to the City Centre Shoppes in March. Joseph plans on focusing his full efforts on making a top-tier athletic facility serving Ellwood City and the greater area.
“The whole Times Square facility is really a blessing to the community,” Vaughn Hudspath, the fitness director, said. “I commend Tony Joseph for having the vision to take a building such as Walnut Ridge School and turn it into a first class facility.”
For information on classes and events at It’s Time, see their Facebook page: