LaFayette Sun News

Gym Owner Celebrates 10 Years of Business in LaFayette

Owner Pamela Holloway displays her exercise equipment in action.

Treadmills for cardio health.

A full array of workout stations inside the gym.

Local businesses have a rich history in the city of LaFayette, perhaps the most remarkable of which is the last decade that Blessed Body and Fitness Gym has been serving the community with its upcoming Ten Year Anniversary & Grand Re-Opening celebration scheduled for Friday, April 28th 2023.
Pamela Holloway first opened the doors to her storefront location on First Street Southeast in March 2013, the location having previously been home to a small church congregation. Pam, as most everybody in town knows her, got the keys to the property in January of that year and began working tirelessly to renovate the interior. Paper sheets were plastered onto the front windows so that nobody could see the work being done to repaint the walls, refinish the floors and rejuvenate the entire inside in anticipation of surprising area residents with a splendid refresh of a historic building.
LaFayette is the birthplace and forever home for lifelong resident Pam, growing up in a rural residence off of Highway 50 in the western portion outside of town on the way to Camp Hill. In her earliest childhood memories, Pam remembers going into downtown LaFayette with her family to go shopping, pick up groceries and run errands. Upon arriving in town, it was a mandatory tradition to pick up a fresh copy of the latest LaFayette Sun newspaper from one of the numerous vending machines on every corner to make sure they were caught up on the latest local happenings.
Plainview Headstart School was a starting point for her education before moving on to Southside Middle School where Pam recalls fond memories of being on the cheerleading squad and Principal Lett encouraging his students. Before long it was on to LaFayette High School where Pam was active as a majorette in the marching band. During those early years business and traffic seemed to slow down in LaFayette, meaning less money for the local economy but at the same making for a quieter, more family friendly environment that was ideal for children to grow up in with invaluable resources such as 4-H and a nursing preparation program that Pam enrolled in at the trade school now known as Inspire Academy.
Named “Most Fun Loving” as a senior graduating with the LaFayette High School Class of 1994, life moved fast for Pam as she welcomed her first child into the world later that year and started a job at the nearby Russell Athletic wear manufacturing plant where she worked for three years. Pam gave birth to two more sons in the following years and worked at the Martex production facility in Valley. Like so many other young working mothers, Pam began to experience back and health related issues which caused her own mother to recommend that she begin exercising regularly to help alleviate the discomfort.
This advice served as both cherished guidance and a bit of divine inspiration for Pam in 2012, who expressed a vision for the future while driving down First Street Southeast with her husband Reverend Terrence Holloway when she pronounced “That’s going to be my gym” as they passed a church being vacated at the soon to be location of her new business.
Nearly every piece of exercise equipment being sold at thrift stores in the area was purchased by Pam so that she could amass the capital goods needed to start her gym. Ed Yeargan owned the building on First Street Southeast at that time and responded with encouragement when Pam contacted him about taking over the rental property. Business was brisk after opening her doors to the public and in 2015 Pam took over rental of the adjacent space as well, knocking down the walls between them to make for one larger property.
Expanding the size of the space made room for the additional weightlifting equipment and tanning beds that customers had asked for to be installed. In 2018 Reverend Holloway relocated his barbershop business to the property which was now being leased to own, a serendipitous return to the same location of the original barbershop where he had started cutting hair in LaFayette 33 years ago.
Despite the upheaval of the looming pandemic, 2020 was a banner year for Pam’s business footprint as she purchased the building where she was operating out of and added a photography studio to her offerings known as Blessed Images. Being highly involved as a sports mom to her three sons who participated extensively in youth athletics, Pam had taken on photography as a creative outlet to capture all of the precious moments of JaQuanteiz, Tequarri and Jatarvious childhood.
Gaining a renowned reputation as the go-to photographer for pictures from the local football fields and basketball courts, Pam’s photos began to be regularly published in the LaFayette Sun. This working relationship evolved organically into an official position as a regular contributor to the newspaper starting in 2016 and in those same years Pam supported the community by taking a training course for certification as a substitute teacher, filling a great need at schools in the area for teaching students. Reflecting on her busy years building a business and serving her community, Pam remarked “I just love people and I just love to see our town continue to grow.“
Serving as a guiding principle in operating her gym has been the phrase “I can help myself while helping others. We can live healthy together” which has earned Pam the special honor of partnerships with healthcare providers such as Tivity Health and their Silver Sneakers program as well as Renew Active by United Healthcare Medicare Plans and One Pass making membership free for use of her gym for enrollees in those plans.
This focus on supporting the community has made it possible for her multiple businesses to survive and thrive through the pitfalls and perils of the pandemic and a challenging small town business environment with multiple streams of income from her gym, photography studio and her husband’s barber shop.
Pam is fond of saying “We are a One Stop Shop, come get fit and healthy then go over to the barbershop and let my husband cut your hair (he cuts women’s hair too) and then go back to my studio and let me snap your picture. You get the total package here at Blessed Body and Fitness Gym.” She goes further on to say “It’s definitely been a journey for me….the highs, the lows, the in between but, I thank God I have never bottomed out! Ten years and I’m still here and even stronger and better!”

By John Brice

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