EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Less than a day after seeing the potential permanent home for Rampage Strength and Conditioning for the first time, Ben Rayland, business owner and personal trainer, put in an offer.
Rayland signed a seven-year lease on the 6,000-square-foot facility at 6519 Basile Row in East Syracuse in June and has been training clients there since then. His specialty is youth programs — from 10 years old to college students, he says. And that was a primary factor in why Rayland knew so soon why the Basile Row location was right for his business.
Since starting Rampage as his first venture into business ownership in 2017, Rayland had been working as a sort of “independent contractor” in fitness, most notably running youth programs for the Village of Manlius until the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily scuttled those programs. No longer able to use the village’s facilities, Rayland says he found a temporary location to set up shop.
“But what happened was … having my own venue really made the opportunity to have the business expand a little bit,” he says in a phone interview with CNYBJ. That growth, fueled by the COVID-necessitated adjustment, was the inspiration for finding a permanent home.
The East Syracuse facility checks off an important box for Rayland because it is central to many of the largest school districts in the Syracuse area from which he pulls many of his students, unlike in Manlius. After seeing the facility for the first time from the outside, all he needed to confirm was that the interior space was conducive to fitness — i.e., that there were no pillars or support structures interrupting the open floor — before making an offer.
“And that’s exactly what happened,” he says. “I met with the realtor, I liked the place, and we had an offer in place before lunch.”
Rayland worked with Cushman Wakefield/Pyramid Brokerage agent Christopher Savage, both for finding his temporary location in Manlius and the permanent one in East Syracuse, he says. Rayland leases his space from Tordar Properties, LLC.
The new facility used to be occupied by JOH Commercial Flooring. Rayland has begun to make the space his own, carpeting what he calls the “warehouse” large, open area and putting down rubber flooring in the weight-room area.
Both sections of the building are part of his emphasis on strength, which Rayland says in an email is “the foundational principle of all my fitness philosophies.” That means that sessions include deadlifting, squatting, other weight training, acceleration/agility exercises, and more. Rayland likes to end youth sessions with games like handball or dodgeball, all made easier by the space the new location offers.
Rayland says he’s “pretty excited to be able to plant my roots somewhere for a while, because the nature of what I was doing before was so transient.” He adds, “I was always bringing my equipment to different venues — the commute all over town was growing a little tiresome.”
Rayland is currently the only trainer at Rampage but runs the business with his wife, Faith. Rayland says that Rampage was a dream they both had, and that Faith handles most of the behind-the-scenes operations like billing and marketing.
Now, more than four months after moving into his new space, Rayland continues to provide youth programs that keep him busy most evenings, particularly during the fall and spring school-sports seasons. He has also added adult classes on Saturday mornings. But the biggest difference between his work now and before, Rayland says, is that today he works both with kids who are athletes and non-athletes. He is also proud of a scholarship program called Rampage Cares, which can help families and kids in need access its fitness programs. Rayland says that strength training can build confidence and help kids in all aspects of life — a quote he likes to use is, “the strong person can move the piano and play the piano.”