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Set the Wayback Machine for Babylon Village, 1984…

*Before Cafe

If you were to ask Mr. Peabody to set the controls of the Wayback Machine to 1984, upon entering the booth you, Sherman, and the bespectacled pooch would be transported back to a simpler time and a Babylon Village that looks dramatically different than the one we know today. The public institutions (the train station, the churches, the high school) would still be there, but many of the bars, restaurants, and other businesses you’d see then have since gone the way of the dodo bird.

One business that you would see—albeit in an earlier, humbler incarnation—is Fitness Incentive. There she is, on Grove Place, with a big group of eager women (and a few wise men) queueing up outside waiting for the doors to open.

The original location, 1985
The original location, 1985

Inside, you’d find a carpeted floor and mirrors that would look familiar enough, but you’d check in by signing a bound ledger book with a Bic pen and exercise to a soundtrack delivered via a repurposed home stereo system and vinyl records. Conspicuously absent would be weight and cardio machines, dedicated yoga, Cycle, and Pilates studios, and…anything resembling a Café. All there was on offer was bottled water and sports drinks, stored in a small refrigerator of the kind one might find in the dorm room of a college student of the time. And the college student of the time in whose room you might find said refrigerator would be Ken Brown, class of ’79. Those old ice boxes had legs, and his fridge still had plenty of life in it.

Another potentially familiar stimulation would be olfactory in nature. You might just catch the scent of premium baked goods. Very early in the life of her fledgling business, Cor had a brainstorm. She threw on an apron, pre-heated the oven, and brought out the baking pans and mixing bowls. The Original Hi-Fi Bar was soon born, and people (both then and for generations to come) began scarfing them down as fast as she could bake them. The baked goods constitute an absolute landmark event in the history of F.I., but they certainly don’t rise to the level of anything resembling a Café in the sense of a staffed, dedicated space with a counter, tables, and a varied menu of food and beverage options. For that, Mr. Peabody would have to set the Wayback Machine for 2001.

Wayback when: The Skylite Cafe circa 2001

When Cor and Ken toured the current location, one thing they noticed was that the space featured two large skylight arrays. One seemed a perfect place under which to position the main aerobics floor. And the other, with its abundant warm, natural light, seemed to plead for the space beneath to be purposed as a place where members could regroup, relax, and refuel. The Skylite Café was born, and it has evolved over the years into a kind of magnet—a bright, welcoming hub around which the rest of the gym revolves.

Mr. Peabody has returned us to the present after a pleasant trip down memory lane, and here we are in the modern Café. What’s that I smell? Why it’s a basket full of fresh-baked Hi-Fi Bars! I’ll take two, please. Actually, make it three…I’ll fridge ‘em. And speaking of fridges, there are two large modern ones in the Café these days. One contains a selection of healthy, bottled drinks, formulated to support gut health through beneficial probiotics. These include Health Aide Kombucha, a fermented probiotic tea that naturally contains healthy organic acids; OWYN 100% Vegan Protein drinks; certified organic, gluten and lactose-free, non-GMO Monfefo Ginger Shots; and Penta Ultra-Purified Water. All are nutritious, pure, and balanced hydration options.

The other fridge is dedicated to our new line of fresh, delicious, healthy, fully-prepared meals provided by the kitchens of Eat Better Meals. The brainchild of chef Dan “The Man” Gross, Eat Better Meals fulfills a goal we’ve nurtured for years and years: top quality, real healthy food for diet-conscious, on-the-go members. Choose from over thirty meals that range from the Asparagus Frittata to the Zesty Veggie Patties. Just added: Chipotle Steamed Salmon prepared to Cor’s exacting standards according to her own recipe. If you’ve enjoyed this fantastic dish in the past, then you know. If you haven’t tried it yet, you will soon know and you’ll be blown away.

Step into the Skylite Café and enjoy the sunshine next time you’re at the gym. There’s so much to like while you bask in the light. Tell them Sherman sent ya’.

And now a word from Cindy Rodgers, Skylite Café Manager

I started managing the cafe Jan of 2005.  At that time we had a little freezer and small refrigerator, a blender and a toaster. We offered only two different kinds of protein shakes and also had only one coffee machine.  We have grown into a cafe that offers many healthy food options, from pre- and post-workout shakes and snacks to breakfast, lunch and dinner options from Eat Better Meals. Cor’s salmon recipe has been a huge success, flying off the shelves in a day’s time. We are now also carrying five different kinds of Kombucha drinks which have many beneficial probiotics for gut health, along with offering ginger shots that are helpful in supporting healthy digestion and immune system.

Stop in the next time your at the gym!

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About the Author

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith manages marketing and member communications for Fitness Incentive and Incentives Organic Spa & Salon. He is a frequent contributor to Fit to Print.

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