The Live Well Wellness Fitness and Health Center opened earlier this year in a new 3,600-square-foot building, but the gym at 661 County Road 120, St. Johnsville, has begun in a much smaller area.

“I started doing group fitness classes in the garage,” said Kelly Dakontas, the wife. “I started with three or four girls and it grew a lot. After a while I was doing six or seven classes a week and I had to grow the place.

After failing in two possible locations in Dolgeville, she and her husband, Justin, decided to buy a place near their home and build a new fitness center.

“We bought the land in May 2020,” says Kelly Dakontas.

Family members rated the property, and the Amish task force built a pillar-like structure. Her husband, a physics and chemistry teacher at Dolgeville, said she had “learned a lot about carpentry.” He still understands the work behind the scenes in the center.

The building is sealed and has toilets and showers, she said. High ceilings and open spaces allow for better ventilation, while a garage door on one side opens in the summer to provide more air circulation. The proximity to Dakarntas’ house allowed them to walk from their own well to the fitness center line.

A women’s group is participating in the Live Well Fitness and Wellness Center in St. Johnsville.

“It was not the right time to quit my job at my small waterfall clinic for 13 years,” she said, adding that gymnasiums were still not open when the building was opened. Pandemic-19 epidemic. After planning this for some time, she and her husband decided to move on. “I had to pray that this (epidemic) would not last forever.

“I was still a little negligent,” Dakonntas said at the launch of Live Well Exercise in January. “OK, we did.”

She thinks people are looking after their health and realizing that fitness is part of a healthy and active lifestyle.

To this end, it provides full-service gym coaches, group and small group fitness classes, and other services. Some participants were going to the “Build and Burn” lesson in the Dakonntas garage. “I call them my originals,” she said.

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Dakontas is a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. Dr. Brian Deaus provides chiropractic services and Becky Case’s licensed massage therapist sees both patients on site.

“They go hand in hand with health and fitness,” Dakontas said.

Certified personal trainer Charlie Nugget serves at the institute and four instructors teach yoga, step and pound training in addition to weight loss. Gym membership is not required to participate in classes, but members are provided with a key fob that provides 24-hour access to the facility, as well as those who are denied access to their regular schedule.

A group of high school students used the center during the summer, Dakontas, whose school’s weight class was closed. “It would be nice if we could provide this service.”

Donna Thompson is a government and business reporter for Times Telegram. Email her at

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