By Kevin Collison
Jay Ashman is a Philly-born weightlifter with the heart of an artist and he’s bringing that unique blend to a neighborhood he feels right at home, the East Crossroads.
Next month, Ashman plans to open Kansas City Barbell at 1714 Holmes St. He intends to teach people how to increase their strength by lifting free weights and on First Fridays leave his place open to chill with the neighborhood.
In his own words, Ashman is no “meathead.”
“I like art a lot and used to play the sax and piano,” he said. “I also acted in plays..I love this neighborhood with its arts background and how it’s up and coming.
“I want to be part of neighborhood and grow with it.”
Ashman grew up in Philadelphia and later worked in New York City running gyms for about 10 years. While in New York, he played Super League rugby and competed in Strongman competitions doing power lifting on the side.
He arrived in Kansas City in December 2016 after managing a friend’s barbell club in Oklahoma City.
“My girlfriend lived here and I commuted back and forth before coming here,” he said. “Now, she’s my wife.”
His wife, Sarah, and Sean Dunston are partners in Kansas City Barbell.
“Sean and I will be the day-to-day guys teaching people how to lift heavy and do it safely,” he said. “There’s nothing like this downtown.”
There will be no lifting machines in the 1,600 square-foot workout space. The equipment will be barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells. Ashman said the partners plan to add some cardio equipment later on.
People will learn the basics of weightlifting: squats, benchpress, deadlift, overhead lift, clean and jerk, and snatch.
Plans call for morning and evening group training. Group training will cost $150 per month and whether sessions will be held three or four days a week hasn’t been determined. Individual membership fees also haven’t been set yet.
The hours at Kansas City Barbell will be Mondays through Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon.
“We’ll close on First Fridays to hangout,” Ashman said.
He plans to open on May 1 and have a grand opening celebration on June 9.
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