John Irving Ballard is giving the community a place to become healthy.
Although it has been open for business since May 1, the grand opening for JB Fitness gym was held Dec. 7.
Ballard said that he purchased Buff Money Fitness from his cousin, Brook Crider Ainsworth, and renamed it with his initials.
“I had worked five years at the gym for my cousin and enjoyed it,” Ballard said. “Last year I was given the opportunity to purchase the gym and I said yes.
“Having my own business has always been a dream of mine,” he continued. “Health and fitness is something I enjoy, and having my own fitness center in my hometown gives others a place to complete their workout.”
Ballard said that his goal for JB Fitness is to expand to a chain of gyms and continue to bring in more members by giving them a good workout atmosphere and a friendly welcome as they walk in the front door — considering that it’s the only gym in town.
“I want to provide Anson County with the best service nobody can find anywhere else,” Ballard said.
Mayor Bill Thacker, who spoke at the grand opening, said that JB Fitness is a great place for people who need to get back in healthy condition.
“It’s great, John Irving, that you have stepped in to do this,” Thacker said. “It’s comforting to us at Town Hall, to see young people come back and stay around to help us do what it is that we need to do to be a better place to live.”
Shelby Emrich, president of the Anson County Chamber of Commerce, echoed Thacker’s sentiment, saying “We want to see our young people return.
Chamber Chairman Joe Dutton said that if he was going to work out, he would go to JB Fitness.
“We thank you for what you’re doing here,” he said. “This is one of those places where you want to be if you’re not at home or at work; it keeps the streets busy, and keeps us occupied.”
Ballard also said that the grand opening was something he had been planning on for a while, but had to hold off while his father was in the hospital.
“During the four months my dad was in the hospital, and driving from the gym to CMC-Main in Charlotte and back home, I spent half of my time painting the entire gym and making it my own,” he said. “Owning my own business and trying to get everything finished — while wondering what the outcome of my father would be — made me a stronger person and a better man with stronger faith.
“I’d like to thank every gym member that I have, because they have been very supportive, and we have all become such good friends,” he added. “I would, first off, like to thank God for everything He’s done. This has been something I’ve prayed for a while now, and finally got the opportunity to start my own gym.”
Ballard also said that he wants to thank his parents, John and Camille Ballard, who have helped him out tremendously during the process.
“I cannot thank them enough, along with my cousin, Brook, who has also been a great role model for me throughout the years by doing business with her,” Ballard said. “I also had many others that helped me out with the gym while my father was in the hospital.”