This year marks the 10th anniversary of Finger Lakes Fitness Center, downtown Ithaca’s locally owned and operated 24-hour gym. Located on the lower level of Center Ithaca (171 The Commons), FLFC offers convenient access to state-of-the art cardiovascular and strength training equipment, as well as a varied roster of classes taught by personable, energetic, and knowledgeable professionals.
FLFC was founded by Dan Stehm, who began his fitness career in 1990 after completing a Physical Education degree at SUNY Cortland. His dream to own his own fitness facility became a reality in January 2004 when FLFC opened its doors at its current Center Ithaca location. Since then, Stehm and his team of fitness professionals have fostered a friendly and inviting environment where lifelong couch potatoes and Olympians alike are welcomed.
In celebration of their anniversary, FLFC is flashing their prices back to 2004 for a limited time, offering a yearlong membership for just $495 or $43 per month. Applicable discounts still apply, including 15 percent of for seniors and 10 percent for college students, military personnel, and downtown employees. FLFC also offers special rate packages for middle and high school students, downtown apartment tenants, and those who only want to participate in the gym’s Zoomba or Yoga classes.
This spring, FLFC will host Fit for 5K, a 10-week workout program leading up to the Ithaca Twilight 5K. Non-members can sign up for full-access membership during this period. In the fall, FLFC plans to organize another fitness challenge where teams are awarded points for workouts and classes completed and compete for prize packages provided by local merchants.
Assistant Manager and Personal Trainer Sarah Smith has been at FLFC since 2007. Says Smith, “It’s the best of both worlds – we have 47 staffed hours per week but we are open around the clock. Because of that, you can adapt your fitness routine to your busy schedule, and you don’t have to worry about the gym getting slammed at peak hours. We really like our members and we’d love to get more like them, and that’s why we have a buddy referral system, where you get a free month anytime a buddy signs up for 6 months or more.”
Says Gary Ferguson, Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, “Finger Lakes Fitness Center has been a tremendous asset for our downtown workers and residents for the past ten years. A health club is an essential part of a full-service downtown economy and FLFC has done a great job serving our downtown community as well as the greater Ithaca community as a whole. We congratulate them on this milestone achievement and we look forward to working with them in the coming years.”
As yet one more anniversary incentive, Smith is offering a free pair of one-week passes (“one for you and one for a friend!”) to any newcomer who visits the gym and mentions this article and where they saw it published.
Downtown Ithaca, New York is synonymous with sustainability.
With its concentration of existing buildings and infrastructure, the city’s walkable urban center is the most eco-friendly commercial hub in the region. This year and last, downtown Ithaca has been the recipient of $130 million dollars of smart growth, including the construction of new LEED-certified buildings, the installation of energy-efficient public utilities, and the rehabilitation of historic mixed-use properties. There is also a new city zoning package that will further encourage sustainable downtown density and reduce suburban sprawl.
Beyond geography and policy, downtown Ithaca is also an important green showcase because many of its retailers have a strong commitment to sustainable practices as well. The downtown marketplace features at least fourteen business who specialized in reused and recycled products; this is the largest such collection of reuse stores in the region. Explains Karim Beers, coordinator of the Get Your GreenBack Tompkins campaign, “The green shopping ethos is really about 3 Rs: reduce, reuse, rebuy. Making stuff is very energy intensive; it constitutes ten percent of our carbon footprint. Shopping at reuse stores means no additional energy was used. If you can’t find something used, then it’s best to buy things that were made sustainably and with recycled content.”
Stacey K. Payette is the owner of Sheldon Hill Vintage & Estate Jewelry on the Ithaca Commons. The shop specializes in affordable and elegant costume and fine jewelry from the 1800s to the 1980s. Says Payette, “I’ve been in the antiques and vintage world for over 20 years, which means I’ve been green before it was a mainstream movement. Sheldon Hill recycles not only its beautiful collection of vintage jewelry, but the history, stories, and sentiments that accompany each piece.”
Wendy Skinner is the founder and director of SewGreen, which rescues high-quality textiles, yarn, and sewing supplies from local sources and presents them for resale in a boutique environment. Skinner says her main goal is to normalize green practices: “Our merchandise is of high quality and we present it as beautifully as we can in a boutique environment so that customers see very little difference between new and not-new. We also provide free programs for teens. We teach and model sustainability – but not in an in-your-face or preachy way.”
Joe Nolan owns Home Green Home, a major exponent of the “rebuy” principle. The store offers a wide variety of home furnishings and supplies that support a healthy and ecologically-conscious lifestyle, including organic mattresses, sustainable fiber apparel, and yoga gear. Says Nolan, “Ithaca is a cutting-edge community when it comes to conscious consumption. People want products that are healthy for their family, and they want to know the ‘upstream’ impacts for farmers, workers, and ecosystems. Home Green Home exists to serve this holistic perspective.”
The DIA’s new Winter Guide, which is now available on the Commons and at major tourist attractions and information centers, includes a complete listing of merchants with a special section highlighting downtown’s other reuse stores, including Angry Mom Records, Autumn Leaves Used Books, The Vintage Industry, The Bookery, Old Goat Gear Exchange, McNeil Music, Rumble Seat Music, Ithaca Guitar Works, Pastimes, Petrune, and Trader K’s.