With a background in the fitness industry, degrees in health and fitness, and an interest in “opening our own place and doing it a little bit differently,” Dan Ritchie and Cody Sipe launched Miracles Fitness in January 2007.
Specializing in personal and small group training, the fitness facility set out specifically to be friendly to baby boomers, seniors and those with medical conditions. Unlike centers where fit people come to work out, Miracles Fitness provides “a place where people who are not fit or have any sort of health concern can really get the help they need,” says Ritchie.
Operating at 917 Sagamore Parkway West (www.miraclesfitness.net, 463-2200), the business has earned the December Small Business of the Month Award from Greater Lafayette Commerce.
Ritchie and Sipe, now a professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro while remaining a business partner, first began talking seriously about opening Miracles Fitness, which now employs 10, in 2005. They met at Purdue, where Sipe earned his doctorate in 2008 and Ritchie in 2009, both in health and kinesiology.
“We have a small, intimate health club,” Ritchie says. “It’s a warm, homey feel. You can’t get lost finding our locker room.”
A small facility was by design, he says. So were its high standards. “Our trainers have four-year university degrees in health, fitness and how the body works.”
Hailing from Wauconda, Ill., northwest of Chicago, Ritchie was a student athlete. “In high school, I took anatomy and physiology. I like the way the human body works. In college, I knew I wanted to get into this arena.” He came to Greater Lafayette to earn his doctorate at Purdue.
Sipe is from Virginia and now lives in Greensboro, N.C., where he works on different aspects of the business. He frequently returns to Greater Lafayette.
Greater Lafayette is a wonderful spot for the business, Ritchie says. “The more we looked at it, we saw that very few were doing what we wanted to do—high customer service, quality trainers, a focus on boomers and seniors, a professional facility with an intimate feel. This is a good market.”
Plus, he and his wife Jenifer love the community, and are raising five children here, ages two to 12.
Their community support includes countless donations of fitness packages. “We do a lot of that, giving our time and service,” Ritchie says. Among those supported with in-kind or financial contributions are schools, gymnastics clubs, basketball camps, Bach Choral, Civic Theatre, Lafayette Symphony Orchestra, arts groups, Hanna Community Center and Wabash Valley Trust for Historic Preservation.
They’ve also helped Habitat for Humanity, Trinity Mission and the Women’s Shelter. And they’ve been involved in the Coalition for Living Well after 50. “We try to do our part,” Ritchie says.
Miracles Fitness also operates a stand-alone Fit Body BootCamp, housed at Golden Steps Dance Studio in West Lafayette and another in Greensboro, N.C. “We are in the process of looking for a location in Lafayette, hopefully to open spring or summer,” Ritchie says.
Housed within Miracles Fitness is a separate business owned by others, Miracles Rehabilitation. “They approached us about being in the space, and they’ve been a great partner,” Ritchie says.