OIC gym changes ownership, nameNew focus is virtual reality

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ORANGE — Regular membership to the Move by Modo gym is $39.99 a month, and there’s a $29.99-per-month deal for senior citizens, students and veterans.

But leave your money and checkbook at home.

“We don’t accept cash … or checks. We don’t print receipts,” said new owner Adam Suzor. “If you choose to be a member here, you choose to go digital … which I think is a huge step. A lot of people are upset with us about it.”

Move by Modo, inside the Orange Innovation Center at 131 West Main St., the new name of the former OIC Fitness Club, is the brainchild of Suzor, a 22-year-old tech entrepreneur. Technology is the present and the future, and Suzor said introducing to people in places such as their local gym is a way to make it more commonplace.

“A lot of people question why I bought a gym, because I have such a tech background. What’s happening is, with the tech industry, what I’m seeing is, the workplace is changing so much and the way we function changes. So, we’re using the gym to make technology more accessible to people,” he said.

Suzor, who started Suzor IT in 2012, took over the gym on Oct. 1. He declined to say how much he paid for the facility, citing a nondisclosure agreement he signed with OIC owner Jack Dunphy.

The gym’s new focus will be virtual reality, which Suzor plans to incorporate by the end of the year. Modo — which Suzor said is short for “modern office” — is working with Cambridge-based VirZOOM to get exercise bikes, ellipticals, and rowers that connect to virtual reality.

But Suzor, a 2013 graduate of Ralph C. Mahar Regional School, said the real magic will take place in the gym’s side classroom, where spin classes are often held.

“What’s perfect about this room is, these beams are all the perfect distance for virtual reality,” he said, adding that the room is suitable for single- or multi-player games of tennis, basketball golf and other sports played virtually with a VR headset. Suzor said the standard exercise bikes there now will be replaced by VR bikes, which will be moved for will be moved whenever the room is booked for virtual reality. He said the first VR bike will arrive on Dec. 1.

There is also a “quasi-changing room” Suzor said will be converted into a VR demonstration room by the end of the year.

Lee Rowe will continue managing the gym’s day-to-day operations, a job he has had for more than nine years. He said roughly 95 percent of his clients seem excited about the changes, though there are a few who aren’t so sure.

“I even had a few that said they don’t want change. They want things to stay identical — same price, equipment, same everything. I said, ‘You can’t. You can’t have things stay status quo.’ That’s what happens,” he said, gesturing to a dilapidated treadmill that will soon be replaced. “If you leave them the way they are, they break down, and then you’re out of luck.”

Rowe said there is a lot of excitement about the idea of virtual reality.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” he said Wednesday.

Brianna Drohen, the development director of the innovation center, said Suzor’s ownership of the gym is “best for everybody” and he will make it more trendy. She said he and Dunphy had been quietly looking for someone to take over ownership of the gym.

Suzor said he had end-of-the-year goals of installing virtual reality, opening up the gym to 24-hour access, making the gym 100 percent digital and bringing high-speed wireless internet to the building, and he has already accomplished the latter two. He explained OIC tenants pay him for Wi-Fi, though he does not make much of a profit on it.

“Modo’s more than just a gym. Modo’s more of a platform to support businesses in the 21st century. We provide … services we think are core toward any business being successful,” he said. “By using a gym, what I’m able to do is hit a wider demographic and show them what virtual reality is and then they start to see the value in it.”

Suzor and Move by Modo can be found on Facebook. Modo’s website is www.join-modo.com and the gym has a free mobile app available for download.