MIFFLINBURG — A shared passion for strength training motivated stepbrothers Aaron Boop and Mark DeFord to open a new gym in the borough — Mifflinburg Muscle & Fitness.

Located at Mulberry and Fifth streets, Mifflinburg Muscle & Fitness opened July 3. Boop and DeFord operate it with co-owners Ashley Boop and Coby Bamford, Boop’s wife and DeFord’s fiancee, respectively.

The facility is staffed during the day but is available to members anytime: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Members are offered online coaching, in-person training and certified dietary and nutrition guidance.

The gym is outfitted with treadmills and ellipticals, free weights and strength-training machines — lots of weights and machines.

“I’m kind of an equipment junkie,” Aaron Boop said. “We’re people who actually use and love the gym.”

“This wasn’t just a business opportunity. It was more like, how can we make it into a business,” DeFord said.

Aaron Boop began collecting commercial-grade equipment for his garage gym. It created a base for Mifflinburg Muscle & Fitness. The owners sought more equipment to repurpose, even working to remove and reuse the rubber mat flooring from a former gym that closed in the Lewisburg area.

Together, they sought out real estate with an assist, they said, from Lance Miller at Mifflinburg Innovation Works, who suggested exploring 151 N. Fifth St.

Boop and DeFord liked the building and location. Together with Ashley Boop and Bamford, they worked to clean and retrofit the one-time event space into a gym — building one wall, opening part of another, painting drop ceiling tiles, laying flooring, installing base molding.

“We essentially redid the entire back” of the building, Ashley Boop said. “It was a lot of painting. I’m glad to not have to paint for a while.”

The end result is a new business venture for the four co-owners and a new gym to work out in for themselves and their members. They’re hopeful that business picks up and they can expand further into the building.

Jake Stover of Mifflinburg worked out at the gym on July 7, moving quickly through sets of tricep exercises and more. He was in a hurry to get to work.

“I’m moving with a purpose,” Stover said after writing his rep and weight count in a notebook. “You can work hard here and it’s a friendly environment. You’re free to do what you want.”

You’re free to come and go as you please, too — a perk Stover likes.

“If I have to do something in the morning I can always come after work. I don’t have to wait for the staff to be here,” Stover said.

Aaron Boop and DeFord both said they’re seeking constructive criticism from their patrons.

“We’re asking for critiques instead of just compliments,” DeFord said.

“We fully intend to grow instead of staying just the same old gym,” Aaron Boop said.

Mifflinburg Muscle & Fitness is located at 151 N. Fifth St., near the northwest corner of Mulberry and Fifth streets. For more information, call 570-966-0377 or search the gym’s name to find its pages on Facebook and Instagram.

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