NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The West Bay YMCA closed its doors on April 30th due to financial troubles, but the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has stepped up to buy the building and reopen it as a health and wellness center.
“We are thrilled to reopen this facility in the fall,” David Sarlitto, Executive Director of the OSJL Charitable Foundation, said. “So many people, from young families to senior citizens and everyone in between, have relied on the programs provided by the West Bay YMCA, and we look forward to meeting their needs again soon.”
The building is located on Post Road in North Kingstown and will reopen under the direction of Kevin Brochu.
Over the course of 20 years, Brochu has been involved in the health and wellness industry as a writer, lecturer, and coach at the high school, collegiate, amateur, and professional level in the Northeast. He also worked for Reebok as a Senior Marketing Manager, where he worked on global marketing and brand development for multiple fitness and wellness initiatives.
“The biggest thing we’re looking forward to Is the response from those in the community who wanted to save this building,” Brochu said. He called it a “piece of the community” and a “generational facility” where many people, and their kids, had their first swim classes, fitness classes, and camp sessions.
“It’s a center that is community based, and we wanted to save it for the community,” Brochu said.
“North Kingstown is our hometown,” Marc Perlman, Principal Owner and CEO of Ocean State Job Lot, said. “Ocean State Job Lot was born here and is still headquartered here today. Our company has made a commitment to the health and wellness of our associates, and we want to extend that commitment into the North Kingstown community.”
According to Steve O’Donnell, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Providence, the West Bay YMCA building was in disrepair and needed approximately $2 million in infrastructure repairs. He said it was decided that it wasn’t in the interest of the YMCA of Greater Providence to repair the building on their own.
“We have a responsibility to make sure any place that we run is clean, neat, and ready to go,” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell said he’s thrilled Job Lot decided to take over and said they have more resources than the YMCA to put a similar wellness center in the area.
“We’ve been working diligently since the announcement of the closure to find a suitable partner as promised,” O’Donnell Said. “We truly couldn’t have asked for a better outcome; we are so pleased that Ocean State Job Lot has decided to purchase, renovate and reopen the facility.”
“Our ability to purchase this building, make a significant investment in the facility, and restore it to a vibrant, community-based organization is a very special opportunity for us, and fits perfectly within our mission,” Perlman said.
According to Brochu, the center will have programming for everyone of all ages and fitness levels. For those who may not be fitness fanatics, it’s still a place to go to connect with friends and family. Brochu said the center will allow people to feel welcome, achieve goals, and overcome obstacles.
“It’s not just a gym,” he said.
According to O’Donnell, the YMCA will still offer programming and services in the town within the public school system and at the town beach.