The new Van Aken District represents more than just another business opportunity for GrooveRyde owners Zosimo and Anjua Maximo. It’s a chance for them to give back to their hometown.

By Zachary Lewis

Residents of Shaker Heights, the Maximos saw the mixed-use complex as the ideal place to open their third and largest GrooveRyde fitness studio, and to expand upon their unique, thriving operations in Cleveland and Woodmere.

“We’ve got a great thing going in Woodmere and downtown, but that’s not where we live,” says Zosimo. “We’re members of the Shaker community, and we want to create that same sense of kinship here. It’s something that’s important to us, to contribute in that way.”

Not that a 3,000-square-foot cycling and general fitness center in Shaker Heights isn’t also a smart investment. In fact, it’s probably genius. Fact is, despite its dense population and relative affluence, Shaker Heights has fewer fitness options than some of its neighbors.

Meanwhile, at its Woodmere location, GrooveRyde is practically bursting at the seams. At certain times of day there, the Maximos have waiting lists for spaces in their trademark cycling and boot camp classes.

“There are a lot of rooftops here, and not a lot of options,” Maximo says. “I think Shaker has been underserved in that sense, and it’s why we fell in love with Van Aken.”

There’s a simple reason GrooveRyde is so popular: It’s fun and intense. Whether you take a cycling, boxing, boot camp, or yoga class, you can pretty much count on getting a serious and complete workout.

Cycling, one of two primary offerings at the new Van Aken GrooveRyde, is no staid, sit-and-pedal affair. A ride there will be a vibrant, dynamic, and rhythmic party. Participants will be encouraged to pedal and move their bodies as one, in time with the music. (They don’t call it GrooveRyde for nothing.)

That’s also the reason Maximo isn’t worried about other cycling studios in the area. He sees GrooveRyde as unique, a concept attuned to national trends but unlike others in Northeast Ohio. This new location also will be next door to a 24-hour gym for Upstairs at Van Aken apartment residents. GrooveRyde will offer apartment residents complimentary group exercise courses.

The other specialty offering at the Van Aken GrooveRyde will be Infrared Hot Barre, a cross between a ballet barre workout, an Infrared sauna, and a hot yoga class. The room in which it’s held will be warm, but the heat will be mild and bearable, Maximo promised.

“It’s creating more of an internal heat than an artificial, external heat,” he says. One last GrooveRyde highlight: the City Pass. A membership at GrooveRyde is essentially a license to travel, to move freely between the downtown, Woodmere, and Van Aken locations. Not that anyone’s encouraging anyone to leave Shaker Heights.

“We naturally felt that this was a place where we were going to spend a lot of time,” Maximo says of the Van Aken District. “We wanted to be a part of it.”

Originally published in Shaker Life, Fall 2018.