EDGEWATER — Last week, Edgewater residents were excited to see a small sign reading “PXM Crossfit” go up above the door at 5757 N. Ridge Ave. — the prominent gray brick and mirrored glass building that’s long been a source of neighborhood speculation.
Neighbors took to Andersonville Facebook groups to speculate on the specifics of the gym and when it might be coming to the long-vacated property.
But PXM Crossfit has been operating out of the space for over a year now. And when co-owner Ben Owen saw the confusion on social media, he knew it was time to start engaging with the community.
For nearly 10 years, the mysteriously intriguing property at 5757 N. Ridge Ave. has sat vacant. For many years, the building was incorrectly rumored to have been a former movie house built by silent film star Charlie Chaplain, however, it was actually built as an auto showroom in 1922, according to the Edgewater Historical Society.
Owen said he and his business partners, Lamont Lynn and Senad Drpljanin moved into the property on Ridge Avenue in May of 2018. With plenty of hurdles to overcome including city permitting and building renovation, PXM was not actively recruiting new clientele.
PXM Crossfit used to be Edgewater Crossfit at 5630 N. Broadway. Owen and his partners had worked at the gym for years. When they took over the gym in March 2018, they decided to move the gym to a spot that would allow them to grow.
Over the last year, new clients have been acquired almost exclusively from word of mouth and social media. But now, PXM Crossfit will be aggressively marketing their gym and more signage should be coming up soon.
Although additional signage will be coming, Owen said they will not be looking to drastically change the aesthetics.
“We don’t want to taint the beautiful architecture of the building,” he said.
Owen said that ever since they put up a sign, they have been drumming up lots of interest from nearby neighbors.
Concerned that a new Crossfit gym will only cater to those with exceptional athletic prowess? That’s not the case for PXM Crossfit, said Owen.
Owen said that the mission of PXM Crossfit is to create a gym that is inclusive and inviting of the entire community.
“We have members well into their 80’s all the way down to teenagers,” he said.
All three owners come from marginalized communities and have had to carve their own unique paths to success, said Owen. Lynn is a black man, Drpljanin an immigrant and Owen identifies as gay.
“We all come from different backgrounds but have overcame similar hurdles,” he said.
They hope to create an environment where all feel welcome and able to pursue their fitness goals without judgment, Owen said.
Although they want to continue recruiting new members, PXM said there is a limit to how many members they will take on. Classes are capped at 16 and there are “only so many hours in a day,” said Owen.
“We hope we hit that level, where we have to turn people away, but we aren’t there yet,” he said.
Expect to see a lot more of PXM Crossfit in the coming months as they continue building renovations and look to have a “sort of grand re-opening.”
But if you are in the market for a new gym, PXM is open for business now, despite any neighborhood confusion.
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