Martial artist joins Innsbrook fitness ring

Renee and Ethan Chandler have opened a new gym in Innsbrook. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Renee and Ethan Chandler have opened a new gym in Innsbrook. Photos by Michael Thompson.

A former Capital One employee is chopping into the Innsbrook fitness market.

Husband-and-wife team Ethan and Renee Chandler opened Phoenix Fitness & Martial Arts at 3957 Deep Rock Road in Innsbrook on March 16. The Chandlers have a three-year lease on the 7,600-square-foot space.

Phoenix offers strength and conditioning programs, adult and youth martial arts classes and children’s self-defense classes.

Ethan Chandler said he was working at Capital One when, more than a year ago, his mother fell seriously ill. He said she had to leave her small business, and her struggle served as a catalyst for Chandler to pursue his own entrepreneurial goals.

Phoenix classes includes self defense for children, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, private fitness training and group classes.

Phoenix classes includes self defense for children, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, private fitness training and group classes.

“I always said, ‘someday, someday, someday,’” said Chandler, who’s been doing martial arts for 25 years. “I decided to take the leap now.”

Chandler, 43, said it cost $250,000 to renovate, buy equipment and build a website for Phoenix. He and his wife are financing it themselves. The space in Innsbrook was formerly home to Combat Sports Center.

The Phoenix space includes locker rooms and showers and may eventually retail prepared meals and offer laundry service for martial arts uniforms.

Chandler said successful gyms place themselves somewhere between “big commercial gyms and very small niche studios.”

“We are placed somewhere in the middle,” Chandler said. “With all the office buildings right nearby, we’re targeting busy people.”

Other Innsbrook-area fitness ventures include West End CrossFit, Hot House Yoga and a Gold’s Gym location. Tidal Wheel, a cycling concept with locations in Virginia Beach and Libbie-Patterson, recently closed its Innsbrook location.

At Phoenix, a year-long membership with three classes a week costs $170 a month; unlimited classes for a year cost an additional $40. All classes are free until April 11.

“The goal for year one is to build up the memberships,” Chandler said. “From there, we’ll start adding additional programs.”

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