Focus on Black-owned business: Ripp City Fitness in Twinsburg 'not the typical gym'

April Helms
Akron Beacon Journal
Al Wilson, standing, the owner of Ripp City Fitness and a certified personal trainer, spots bench press lifts for certified personal trainer Ray Holmes Jr., at Ripp City Fitness in Twinsburg.

TWINSBURG --  Al Wilson of Aurora said his first jobs were for various companies, starting at age 20. Credit card companies. Telecommunications. Apartment construction. They all had one thing in common: they were desk jobs.

"I sat a lot," Wilson said. "One day, I was working in downtown Akron and I saw my reflection in the Gojo building, and went 'wow, that's me.'"

Wilson did not like what he saw in that reflection, so he did some research and started to work out. His efforts paid off with a 38 pound weight loss in 90 days.

"People started asking me for tips," Wilson said. "I started to help them out, and it went from there. I became a personal trainer, and I never looked back."

Today, Wilson operates Ripp City Fitness and Work Well Health Solutions at 9224 Darrow Road in Twinsburg, which he has run for more than five years. Wilson added that the facility was in the middle of an expansion, with the gym section scheduled to reopen April 2. The expansion has "been a year-long process."

"We will have grand opening specials available," Wilson said. "We will have giveaways, healthy food. We'll have a celebration."

Even with the expansion, Wilson still has been offering personal training, and classes are streamed online.

"We are not a typical gym," Wilson said. "It's always been my goal to help people where they live, no matter where they live. Many members of our fitness family have relatives that live out of the area. One member lives in the area, but she has a sister who lives in Columbus. But they take a class together online, so they can work out together."

In addition, Wilson said that Ripp City has a mobile app for members, has a registered dietitian, an online portal, in-person and online classes, and offers massage therapy.

"When someone walks into this place, I want you to feel at home, in the community," Wilson said. "But I also realize a lot of the wellness goals happen outside of here, so I want to give you the tools to succeed even when you are not in the building." 

Wilson said he stresses that people should "focus on the things you can control."

"Focus on being active, and taking care of your mental health," Wilson said, adding that health was not just in physical wellness but emotional. "Usually, something they are dealing with is leading to that unhealthy habit. I've never met someone who says 'I don't want to get healthy.'"

The goal for Wilson and Ripp City Fitness is "to help you achieve optimum health and wellness," no matter what age.

"I have a 7-year-old I train, and I have an 87-year-old I train," he said. "I want to help people maintain the best life possible."

When he is not at Ripp City Fitness, Wilson said he enjoys singing, doing life coaching and spending time with his family, including his four adult children, and dogs. 

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com

Liz Schaub, the operations manager at Ripp City Fitness does pull ups on fitness equipment at Ripp City Fitness in Twinsburg.
Al Wilson, center, the owner of Ripp City Fitness and a certified personal trainer, stands with certified personal trainers Ray Holmes Jr., left, Lisa Secora, Liz Schaub, the operations manager and Dominique Sanders, a certified personal trainer.
The fitness class room at Ripp City Fitness in Twinsburg. The facility is undergoing expansion.
Ripp City Fitness in Twinsburg is currently undergoing expansion. Reopening is scheduled for April 2.


At a glance

Business: Ripp City Fitness

Owner: Al Wilson

Where: 9224 Darrow Road, Twinsburg

Phone number: 330-998-6010

Website: https://rippcityfitness.com 

About the series

The Beacon Journal is highlighting minority-owned businesses throughout our community. Read more of these profiles at  https://bit.ly/3jb0h1e.  

Have a suggestion for a business to feature? Email us at bjnews@thebeaconjournal.com.