By Maddy Vitale
Chris Lambert knows he is a successful businessman. He owns six Atilis Gyms located in Cape May, Atlantic and Camden counties.
He knows the value of dedication, hard work and what it takes to retain an old-fashioned hard core style gym, one that adds just enough features to broaden the appeal to all fitness gurus.
Whether a person joins the gym to get fit enough to perform in a bodybuilding competition, or just to burn off some extra pounds, all of Lambert’s gyms have the workout equipment to get the job done.
From the Ocean City Atilis, to Sea Isle, Avalon, Wildwood, Egg Harbor Township and the newest gym, in Bellmawr, members have all they need to get fit, including a friendly, positive staff.
Lambert’s business motto is simple: Be friendly and know what keeps customers coming back.
“Atilis Gyms have never, and will never, have contracts, initiation fees, upgrade fees or equipment fees,” Lambert, 47, said in between greeting customers at his Egg Harbor Township gym.
Another way Lambert shows appreciation to his customers is by offering them incentives to join.
To say thank you to police officers and other emergency responders in Ocean City, Lambert is giving them free memberships from now through Memorial Day 2019.
“As a former Lower Township police officer, it is good to give back to the police departments and all emergency responders,” Lambert said.
Throughout the year, Lambert offers discounted rates to students and senior citizens as well as emergency personnel. But this year, he said he wanted to do even more to show police and emergency responders that they are truly appreciated for what they do.
Another major perk Lambert is offering to members is to keep his Ocean City, Sea Isle City and Avalon gyms open 24 hours, seven days a week.
The gyms are staffed throughout the day and into the evening hours. But when they are not, there is camera surveillance and only members will be able to access the facilities, he explained.
“Members will be able to go to the gym any time,” he said. “There will be keys in lock boxes that only members would have the codes for.”
He added that the 24-hour operation is really appealing to some of the customers.
“I spoke with one person who left his gym to come to Atilis because he could come in any time,” he said.
Atilis Gyms is not a one-man operation. Lambert credits his success to his loving family. He said he couldn’t do it without them. He has two sons, Cody, 22, and 16-year-old Brandon. He proudly displays their names in tattoos on his arms.
Lambert emphasized that his sons are pivotal to his business. He sold his Sea Isle gym to Cody this past year and it is doing very well, he said.
“He is working really hard – about 55 hours a week. He is doing a fantastic job,” Lambert noted.
“Someday, Brandon will also run one of my stores,” Lambert said. “My kids mean everything to me and I want them to succeed.”
Another person in Lambert’s life who keeps him happy is his fiancée, Lesya Vdovychenko, a personal trainer. She has been crucial in assisting with the operations of the gyms, he said.
“She even designs the clothes. She is a really big part of the gym,” Lambert said. “We are just a big, happy family here.”
Lambert bought his first Atilis Gym in Wildwood in 1996, which remains the flagship location. He opened the next Atilis Gym in Avalon in 2012, another one in Sea Isle in 2013 and then expanded to Ocean City in 2016. Then he opened the Egg Harbor Township gym, which features a boxing ring and athletic field. His latest venture is opening an Atilis in Bellmawr.
He didn’t say that he has plans for opening a seventh gym, but with his track record of success with the string of gyms he has amassed over the years, it wouldn’t be a surprise.
More information on Atilis Gyms can be found on their website: https://www.atilisgym.com/sea-isle-city, phoning their Sea Isle City location at: 609-263-6500, or just stopping-in. Their address is 4411 Landis Avenue Sea Isle City, NJ 08243.