Photo by Jessica Keller: Henry’s Gymnasium owner Glen Swain, right, talks with a subcontractor while standing behind the bar of the gym, last week. The bar is one of the features that makes the facility different from others, as patrons will be able to buy, among other things, a beer or glass of wine.
Photo by Jessica Keller: Henry’s Gymnasium owner Glen Swain, right, talks with a subcontractor while standing behind the bar of the gym, last week. The bar is one of the features that makes the facility different from others, as patrons will be able to buy, among other things, a beer or glass of wine.

Like many people during quarantine, gym owner Glen Swain had a lot of time to think.

After he had to close his gym in north Queen Anne after 20 years because of COVID, Swain said he thought a lot during quarantine about his personal and work philosophies, what things were important to him and how he could incorporate those in a new gym.

“COVID has been a game changer for everybody,” Swain said, adding it made him reevaluate what is important to him.

Although he has worked in the fitness industry for 30 years, Swain said he realized a new gymnasium would require a new business mode

It was no longer enough to just run a successful gym like he had for so many years. He wanted it to mean more.

“I want to make a difference,” Swain said. “I want to make a difference in the community. I want to make a difference in people’s lives.”

From those ideas, and a vacant building space in Uptown, Henry’s Gymnasium was born and is set to open Feb. 1.

One of the first things that attracted to Swain to his new building, 14 Mercer St., was its history, which Swain said has always been an interest of his.

It was built in 1909, he said, and at one point served as the garage for the nearby Seattle Engineering School, now the Marqueen Hotel, where blacksmiths trained to work on Model T’s for the assembly plant at Lake Union.

Swain said the gymnasium’s name pays homage to Henry Ford and the building’s history to the Model T.

Everything inside the building celebrates Swain’s love of history, as well, from the vintage decor, to the artwork lining the wall, to the reclaimed materials used in construction. It also reinforces Henry’s Gymnasium central philosophy of being inclusive and building unity.

“It’s just a tone, and it’s a DNA that we want to create because we want to unite folks from all walks of life,” Swain said of its mission.

To be a good neighbor and do its part to build good relationships with the neighborhood, Swain said the gym will do monthly campaigns in support of or in partnership with local organizations, such as the Queen Anne Food Bank or Free to Love, which has an anti-bullying mission. Throughout January, the gym is collecting toiletries for the food bank to help neighbors experiencing homelessness. Swain said he hopes his gym members will participate in the campaigns to improve the neighborhood and themselves.

Inside the gymnasium, Swain will have 15 staff members available and trained to get to know the patrons, their needs, aspirations and learn how best to motivate them and reach their goals. The photos are also decorative but intended to help inspire and motivate, as well, Swain said.

Many of the gym’s photos feature historical figures who inspired or created change in the world, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Another shows South African civil rights leader and former President Nelson Mandela wearing boxing gloves while in a fighting stance.

“I wanted to create an environment and place where people felt they could come in and be inspired and be motivated,” Swain said.

Another aspect of that is creating an environment where people feel comfortable enough to stay, even after their workout is over.

Henry’s Gymnasium differs from other gyms where people come in, work out and then leave.

Swain said, at Henry’s Gymnasium, patrons will be encouraged to linger, relax, celebrate achievements and build relationships.

“I think where we are in the world and in COVID, I think people want to feel inspired and want to feel connected again,” Swain said.

One of the first features people see when they enter the gym at the parking lot entrance off of Mercer Street is the vintage bar and stools set up, where people can enjoy a beer or water or smoothie after a workout.

“The whole purpose of the bar is to allow people to socialize — all the things we’ve moved away from during COVID,” Swain said. “That’s a very important element for us — for people to socialize and connect again in a healthy environment.”

Swain said Henry’s Gymnasium will also bring something else to Uptown: its first full-service gym, with a range of weight and cardio machines; therapeutic offerings of hydromassage and vibration therapy; high-image body scans; and other offerings and programs. Beginning Feb. 1, Gym hours will be from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Go to www.henrysgymnasium.com for more information about the gym, memberships and offerings.