St. Johnsville NY gym offers classes

Diana J. Smith

Live Well Fitness Health and Wellness Center opened early this year in a new 3,600-square-foot building, but the gym at 661 County Road 120, St. Johnsville, started in a much smaller space. 

“I had started doing group fitness classes in my garage,” said owner Kelly Daukontas. “I started with three or four ladies and it kind of grew. After a while I was doing six or seven classes a week and needed to grow the space.” 

After a couple of possible locations in Dolgeville didn’t work out, she and her husband, Justin, decided, at her father’s suggestion, to purchase a parcel of land near their home and build a new fitness center. 

“We bought the land in May of 2020,” said Kelly Daukontas.

Family members graded the property, and an Amish work crew built the pole barn-style structure. She said her husband, a physics and chemistry teacher at Dolgeville, “learned a lot about carpentry,” during the finishing of the interior. He still helps with behind-the-scenes work at the center. 

The building is insulated and features restrooms and showers, she said, adding the high ceilings and open space provide for good air flow, and the garage door on one side of the structure is opened during the summer, providing additional ventilation. The proximity to the Daukontas’ home allowed them to run a line from their own well to the fitness center. 

A group of women take part in a class at Live Well Fitness Health and Wellness Center in St. Johnsville.

“It was not the best time to leave the job at the Little Falls Veterinary Clinic that I’d had for 13 years,” she said, noting that during the time the building was going up, gyms were still not allowed to open due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She and her husband had been planning this for a while though and decided to move ahead. “I just had to pray this (the pandemic) was not going to be forever.” 

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