December 6, 2022

A new fitness center is muscling in at the former O2 Fitness building at Mayfaire Town Center. 

Shawn Stewart, CEO and owner of Fuel Fitness, is preparing to open a location in the 13,500-square-foot building at 980 Town Center Drive.

For Stewart, who was the COO of O2 fitness from 2015 to 2019 before building his own brand, the Mayfaire gym will mark the fifth Fuel Fitness facility in North Carolina. His sixth will be a facility he plans to build in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“When I saw O2 was vacating that space, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get into the market with one of my favorite clubs at the time,” he said. “I thought it was the perfect spot and the perfect opportunity to bring the Fuel Fitness brand to Wilmington.”

Stewart said he hopes to open before the end of the year, with tours and pre-selling potentially starting in November. Fuel Fitness at Mayfaire is expected to hire 30 employees, counting full- and part-time members of the team.

When O2 Fitness closed at Mayfaire earlier this year, it had about 1,900 members. Owners said in a previous Greater Wilmington Business Journal story that the Mayfaire closure was part of an overall pivot for the company.

“That market is so unique because of where it’s located and with the amount of residential areas in that one-mile radius, I know there’s a lot of people who will be excited about a gym going back into that location,” Stewart said. “I think we are unique enough and differentiate ourselves not just from O2 but any other health clubs … We will be much more of a training facility as well as a full-service health club than I think the competitors in the Wilmington market.”

In addition to his stint at O2, Stewart said he previously ran the 30,000-member Gainesville Health & Fitness in Gainesville, Florida.

He said Fuel Fitness at Mayfaire, like his other locations, will feature a large variety of group fitness classes, cardio strength equipment, large turf areas for functional training, cycle studios and kids’ clubs. A recovery lounge (called the Refuel Lounge) will offer hydro massage, a cryotherapy lounge chair, compression technology theragun stations and more features for pre- and post-exercise recovery, he said.

The gym will also include a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) studio.

“We use treadmills, we use bikes, we have rowers, and then we have fit benches, which are individual benches that have your own barbells, kettlebells and attachments for strength and stretching,” Stewart said. “And we encompass all of that into a progressive HIIT-style training.”

Stewart has a 10-year lease at Mayfaire Town Center, and his future plans include adding outdoor training facilities with a variety of uses, from obstacle course race practice, to specific-sport training to community events.

Other than Wilmington and the facility coming to Myrtle Beach, Stewart’s other locations are in Mooresville, Charlotte, Durham and Winston-Salem. The Winston-Salem Fuel Fitness is Stewart’s flagship, a 30,000-square-foot structure built from scratch, he said.

Fuel Fitness offers different membership levels, from basic to VIP. 

Of his membership goals, Stewart said, “I’d say anywhere from 800 to 1,200 members is a good start.”
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