Every end, a beginning: Southeastern Fitness opens

Industry veteran Bart Cappabianca recently opened the doors to his new shop, Southeastern Fitness in Orlando, Fla., and he plans to open a second location in Tampa Bay later this summer.

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The end of one story is often the beginning of another.

After Busy Body Gyms to Go shuttered a few Florida and Georgia locations to focus on its southern Florida operation, industry veteran Bart Cappabianca stepped in to fill the gap left by the Orlando store closing.

Cappabianca recently opened the doors to his new store, called Southeastern Fitness Equipment.

But he’s not using the old space of the Busy Body Gyms to Go store, which he managed until it closed in March 2012 (check out the SNEWS FitBiz report, which noted that the chain is down to six storefronts). Rather, Cappabianca has opened his location across the street near Orlando’s famed Mall at Millenia.

“I wanted a fresh start,” Cappabianca said. With the store opening, Cappabianca made two hires, one full-time, who came with him from Busy Body Gyms to Go, and another part-time employee. 

It is Cappabianca’s second time owning a store, as he previously owned Affordable Fitness in the Orlando area, which Busy Body Gyms to Go took over in 2005, SNEWS reported. Cappabianca managed the Busy Body Gyms to Go location until it closed and has been getting his store ready to open since.

Cappabianca said this go-round would be different because he’s going to focus on one-on-one customer service, explore selling nutritional supplements and incorporate personal trainers into the business model. Currently, there are two personal trainers listed on the store’s website who help make the store a “full-service fitness store,” Cappabianca said.

Southeastern Fitness already plans to open a second location in Tampa Bay this summer. While that might seem quick, Cappabianca said it’s a strategic move.

“I just don’t want to lose the Life Fitness line to anybody else who might move into that area,” he said. “I don’t want to drag my feet and have somebody else carry Life Fitness. That’s a big line for me.”

In addition to Life Fitness, Southeastern Fitness Equipment also carries Harbinger, Helix, Water Rower, Body Solid, Spri, XMark and Waters Fitness. 

“I feel great,” Cappabianca said of getting the store up and running. “It’s very exciting.”

–Ana Trujillo