Owners of Mattawa Fitness Club have big plans

Apr. 30—MATTAWA — Ulises Sanchez and Hector Guerrero said their business started as one of those casual conversations, a couple of friends kicking around possibilities.

"It started as an idea," Guerrero said. "We're both gym people; we go to the gym all the time. And everybody has that conversation, 'Oh, we should just do a gym one day.' And one thing led to another."

Those conversations turned into the Mattawa Fitness Club, which opened in November 2022. After 18 months it's so busy its owners want to expand.

Sanchez and Guerrero are both from Quincy and work in Wenatchee, but Quincy already has a couple of gym facilities. Sanchez was familiar with Mattawa and knew workout opportunities were limited. So they started looking for a building to open their own gym.

They found something at 20 Government Road, right at the bottom of the hill, but the search took a while.

"Weirdly enough, this was the first place that we saw when we came into town," Guerrero said.

"Since it looked abandoned we (said), 'I wonder if the owner even lives in town.' We didn't know so we kind of forgot about it. We looked for at least six months for other locations."

It was a conversation with former Port of Mattawa Director Lars Leland that allowed them to find the owner and determine the building was available.

But it needed some work. It had last been occupied in about 2014.

"It was really gone at first," Guerrero said.

It was what they wanted, though, a big open space that would accommodate a lot of exercise equipment and a garage door to move stuff in and out. They recruited help from friends and family and got to work. They left the plumbing and electrical work to professionals, but the ceiling and floors, the sheetrock and insulation they did themselves.

From the beginning, the gym has been busy.

"The first day we opened people came in waves," Guerrero said. "Initially we had a line."

The space is relatively small but has everything a gym rat would need — treadmills and other cardio equipment, weight machines and free weights, a spot for serious lifters.

"There are actually a lot of powerlifters here," Sanchez said. "A lot of kids that are really strong. There's a member that's actually a (power lift) competitor."

On the other hand, there was the man who joined because he had lost some weight, wanted to lose more, and thought he had gone about as far as he could on diet alone. Mattawa Fitness is designed to accommodate both, its owners said.

Sanchez and Guerrero said they aren't trainers, but they can give novices basic instructions on using the equipment. In addition, Mattawa Fitness has an agreement with Gold's Gym in Tri-Cities that allows people to meet with a trainer by appointment. There's also a Spanish-speaking trainer from Mattawa available by appointment.

The reception from Mattawa residents had them thinking about expansion almost from the start. The entire first month was very busy.

"That's when we started having thoughts of, 'wow, we're going to need to find somewhere bigger sooner than we thought,'" Sanchez said.

A bigger space will not only accommodate more equipment, but more services.

"We have a lot of plans," Sanchez said. "We want to do a juice bar. We want to get more into (merchandise), like clothes and stuff. We have a lot (of plans) — we want an outdoor area, we've been looking at that too."

They'd like to add a locker room and showers, and maybe a sauna.

"And making the workout area larger," Guerrero said.

In addition, both have jobs in Wenatchee and have the goal of transitioning into business ownership full-time, they said.

"It's always good to try something new," Guerrero said. "This was something that was new for me, so I kind of went all in, and now I enjoy it more than my career."

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

Mattawa Fitness Club

20 Government Road

Mattawa,WA 99349

Open 24 hours

Staffed hours:

M-TH: 9 a.m. — 6 p.m.

Fri: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.