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Christii Darden of Retro Flex cuts the ribbon to officially dedicate the 24-hour gymnasium. The fully equipped facility, located at 25001 Shady Brook Trail, Unit 3, Courtland, opened to members on Saturday. -- Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

Retro Flex ready to help you become best version of yourself

Christii Darden sits down to demonstrate a rowing machine that uses water as resistance medium. — Stephen H. Cowles Tidewater News

COURTLAND

As of Saturday, residents in Western Tidewater and environs could find a new option to get pumped up and physically fit. Two days later, Hunter and Christii Darden dedicated their 24-hour facility, Retro Flex Gym LLC, with the simple snip of a ribbon.

The couple designed the site to be not only convenient in its hours, but also feature exercise equipment required by people wanting to train above and beyond the weights and machinery used for toning or basic strength-training in other facilities.

“This would not be possible but for the Downtown Franklin Association,” Hunter Darden said during the ceremony. “Every government program and small business program said no. Banks would not help us.”

He credited his wife for somehow discovering online the StartUp competition offered by the DFA and Franklin-Southampton Economic Development Inc. Along with other hopeful applicants, earlier this year they attended business classes, created a business plan and presented their dream to a panel of judges. Hunter said then that the couple’s mission is “to inspire people to be the best versions of themselves.”

They would also offer training that could be done in person or even online from their website.

The Dardens won the third-place prize of $10,000, which was to be used by year’s end in buying equipment, inventory, site renovations or even rent. They also got another $1,000 that is to be dedicated to advertising and marketing purposes.

Preparing the site began in June, requiring the Dardens to put in a lot of hours for four days per week. Because the gym is open all hours of the day and night, proper lighting and security have been built in.

Retro Flex is located 25001 Shady Brook Trail, Unit 3, Courtland. To learn more, call 571-0026 or visit their Facebook page.