Dan Greenhalgh was feeling a little cramped in his car shop at 25 Victory Lane. Dracut Exhaust & Brake does a thriving business, and after 11 years in the building, he was starting to feel a bit cramped.
Then the building next door at 15 Victory Lane -- former home of Advanced Auto Parts and, before that, Dracut Auto Parts -- went on the market after Advanced Auto closed up shop. So Dan, a Dracut native now living in Pelham, bought it and is in the final steps of moving out of one building and into the other, a process that began in December (mainly due to issues with the supply chain).
The new building is about four times bigger than his previous shop. It’s so big, in fact, that he was able to lease about a third of it to old buddy George Sotirakos and his gym, Downtown Barbell.
Dracut Economic Development held a pair of ribbon-cutting ceremonies on August 17 to welcome Dan to his new home and George to town.
“It’s great to finally get in here,” says Dan, who is still waiting on some key pieces of equipment.
George also had some supply-chain problems and is also still waiting for some equipment, but he managed to open on June 1.
“Everything’s moving slowly, but at least it’s moving,” he says.
It’s kind of a redo for Downtown Barbell, which he first opened in Lowell in 1998 but closed in 2009. George, a lifelong Lowell resident who has worked as a corrections officer at Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica for 17 years, decided to reopen Downtown when he saw Dan had some space available.
Now a sergeant and able to retire in a few years, he figured now was the right time.
He says Downtown Barbell distinguishes itself from other fitness businesses in town by being mainly for those who like to lift weights.
“There are different kinds of gyms,” he says. “You got boot camps, and then you have the commercial gyms that have a bunch of machines that are self-explanatory. Downtown Barbell is suited for powerlifting. If you’re looking to get stronger, with the right equipment and the right atmosphere and the right training partners, this is your place. I call it more of a powerlifting club than a gym.”
When he first opened in Lowell, it was because he couldn’t find a place to powerlift without driving a fair distance.
“I’m not traveling to Maine or Connecticut, so I figured if I can’t find one, why not make my own?”
Reach Dracut Exhaust & Brake at 978-957-8344 or on Facebook @Dracut Exhaust & Brake.
Downtown Barbell can be reached at 978-902-2745.