Ogdensburg woman opens 'Bootcamp' and fitness center in city during pandemic

·4 min read

Jun. 10—OGDENSBURG — Early in 2020, Johnnie Flynn, a certified personal trainer, had a dream of opening a "bootcamp" and fitness center in Ogdensburg but she was having trouble finding the perfect location.

That's when her phone rang and was told to check out 1010 Franklin St., the former Lupia Electric building.

"When I walked into the building I knew without hesitation this was going to be our fitness center," said Flynn, who eventually opened BBJ Bootcamp & Fitness Center on Sept. 12, 2020 with co-owner, Patrick Barr, in the building that had 1,950 square feet in space that was perfect for their plans.

Flynn's "bootcamp" is different than your typical gym experience. It's an interval circuit training style program, with each station offering different exercises you do for a minute on and a 20 second break.

"Bootcamp is a great way to quick start fat loss using your major muscles groups, including your core," said Flynn, adding "It is seriously fun."

She says that the process for opening a business was "quite extensive and overwhelming, especially if you have no experience in doing so."

Flynn said that we helped along the way by Misty Fishel from QT Laser & Design and other small business owners who guided them to potential grant funding to help pay for renovations to meet code requirements by the City of Ogdensburg.

"The cost, time and effort was nothing like I imagined. I can now proudly say it was all worth it," she said.

Flynn said that her inspiration in creating BBJ Bootcamp & Fitness Center began years ago when she decided to make the life changes required to be healthy and fit. The rest, they say, is history.

"Once my body composition started to change and people saw progress, friends began asking me to help them with their fitness. This is where my journey in helping others began. I eventually became a certified personal trainer and Bootcamp instructor," she said.

Flynn thanks David Bayne with Step-By-Step, for allowing her to teach a class at the former Lincoln Elementary School. Before she knew it, her classes gained in popularity and they eventually needed more space.

"At that moment, I knew it was time to finally take the leap and open my own Bootcamp and fitness center," said Flynn.

What makes this accomplishment even more inspiring is that it took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, when state guidelines kept changing by the month, even week in some instances. It made her question her decision to open the fitness center, but she decided to press on.

"It was devastating for so many reasons, what about classes? What about our fitness community? What about my Bootcamp building? There were times when I felt like giving up, but I knew I couldn't do that to the people who supported me for the last three years coming to my bootcamp, most importantly, I couldn't give up on me and my goals," Flynn said.

Despite the COVID-19 related roadblocks, her dream came to fruition.

"We had to follow so may restrictions, but I knew if we could get through this then we can get through anything," she said.

BBJ Bootcamp & Fitness Center currently offers a variety of classes with different instructors.

There is a Bootcamp, boxing, circuit and personal training class called "Body By Johnnie" with Flynn as the instructor.

Angela and Ricky Rodriguez offer Thousand Islands Martial Arts and teach karate, kickboxing and boxing classes.

A pilates, High Intensity Interval Training and penalty box classes called "Evolution Group Fitness" is instructed by Bridgette Havens.

There is also a "Family Tabata Bootcamp" with Jordyn Vernsey for youth ages 5-14; Zumba with Nicole Kendall; Re-Pose Yoga with Denise Kerr; and Zumboga with Pam Morley.

The response from the community has been wonderful, according to Flynn, adding that she enjoys what she does and is excited for the future of the fitness center in Ogdensburg. She even has a three-year plan of hopefully opening another fitness center outside of the city.

"The reason I love Bootcamp is all the comaraderie, support, motivation, and encouragement during class. Bootcamp is not just about becoming fit, it is about building a community, making friends, socializing, and inspiring one another. Besides being a mom, this is my passion," she said. "This is my purpose."

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