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    Saturday, March 02, 2024

    Sons of G's have learned their lessons well

    Waterford — It has been suggested that the happiest people treasure their relationships, not their possessions. And that's why the Gianakos boys of East Lyme have patterned their workout facility after the business their dad and other family members have turned into an institution for more than 50 years.

    The kids of G's Fitness and Nutrition learned what the adults haven't merely taught, but lived at Mr. G's Restaurant: If you run a business with no sense of community, your business will swirl the bowl sooner, not later.

    Many of us who can pinch more than an inch know that Mr. G's is very much like Cheers: Everybody knows your name and they're (mostly) glad you came. And while it's paramount the food's good, the allure of the place has always been comfort, kinship, needling, sports on TV and the general feeling that it's fun being there.

    Ah, but G's isn't just good for gorgonzola anymore. Chris and Peter Gianakos, who began a fitness and nutrition facility 12 years ago, just outgrew their old digs at Utopia Plaza on Boston Post Rd. They've moved up the road a bit into a 5,000-square foot facility behind Jiffy Lube on Route 1.

    This is welcome news for all of us who enjoy seeing local people succeed.

    G's Fitness and Training, proof that not only can you buy locally, but sweat locally, too — sustains the same concept on which the longstanding family business rests: Get to know your customers.

    "We've seen how the G's (restaurant) thing has always worked," Peter was saying one day last week. "My dad (Peter) and uncle (George) know everybody in there. We wanted to do the same thing here. No matter how many people we have as clients, we need to establish that personal relationship with them. It's kind of the G's thing. When you go to the restaurant, you know everybody in there. We want to know everybody in here, too."

    G's Fitness has become a popular option for many high school athletes, especially in East Lyme, Waterford and New London. The idea of expansion is impressive, given the number of fitness options around. Seems our corner of the world leads the league in gyms, gin mills and pizza joints.

    And darn, if the Gianakos clan doesn't meld all three. Gym, gin mill and pizza joint. They can fatten you up with a large sausage and onion and then help you burn it off later. This concept will be of use to many more of us soon, especially after the holidays when we step on the scale and see the dreaded words "to be continued."

    "There's a sense of satisfaction in helping someone build self-confidence," Peter said. "We're grateful people trust us."

    The new facility comes with new ideas as well. The Gianakos boys will team with next-door neighbor David Doyle, a physical therapist, on a baseball program. Given the obsession with baseball in Waterford alone, seems the concept can't miss.

    "It's kind of like 'pre-hab,'" Peter said. "We'll sort of combine injury prevention with strength and coordination, helping things like pitchers' shoulders."

    Again: It's not like we have a shortage of fitness choices around here. The idea that expansion has been necessary three times in 12 years suggests the G's boys have learned from their extended family about what works.

    This is a story that has all good stuff: family, community and self-sufficiency. Exactly how we should all want our kids to grow up, mindful of helping others, beyond their own self-interests.

    Peter and Chris learned quite a bit from the eclectic clientele of the restaurant — coaches, politicians, teachers, lawyers, laborers, writers, accountants, Pfizer folks, craps dealers — and have applied much of what they've learned, minus the carbs.

    Good for them.

    Buy local.

    Sweat local.

    Sounds like a plan for 2019.

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

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