Austin is known for its good food, live music and hopping bar scene, and existing establishments on Manor Road check each of these boxes.
But there’s another important facet to life in Austin: fitness. Thanks to local boutique gym Dane’s Body Shop’s expansion to 2701 Manor Road, this up and coming eastside city artery will soon have it all.
What Is Dane’s Body Shop?
Dane Krager, native Austinite and founder/owner of Dane’s Body Shop, might raise an eyebrow at “boutique” as a descriptor, but it’s a necessary adjective for differentiating this small homegrown gym from national, big box chains. The gym follows the man–Krager is a personable, laid-back guy who also happens to be an elite athlete and accomplished trainer.
The flagship Dane’s Body Shop opened in 2010 at 4227 Guadalupe in what was once a gas station (think about the name). From the beginning, it provided quality workouts for small groups, all structured within a positive atmosphere. Over the last five years, Krager has developed a loyal clientele. “We’re a community,” he said as he surveyed the new location. “Everybody wants to be part of something bigger. Everybody wants to help [with the gym] and have fun.”
You get a taste of how involved Body Shop members are by viewing their quirky, explanatory video, “Is Dane’s a Gym?” Written in 2013 by member Mical Trejo, filmed by local photography and video production company Moth To Flame and populated by the real people–coaches and clients–who make up Dane’s Body Shop, it amounts to the only advertising Krager has ever really put together.
Expanding to Manor Road
This second location of Dane’s Body Shop is moving into the space formerly occupied by Master Valet Cleaners, which is relocating to its south Austin Laundry Boy store. It’s conveniently positioned near bus stops, restaurants and apartment buildings, not to mention mere minutes from The University of Texas campus, and part of a walkable neighborhood. Krager was excited to describe his plans for transforming the building into an exercise facility. After all, he’d been looking for just the right location since 2012.
Krager is keeping the building’s original footprint, which is much larger than it appears from the street. Whereas the flagship location is comprised of two segments (one room for strength training and the other for fusion workouts, a mix of strength, endurance and range of motion), the Manor Road shop will have three distinct areas.
The front of the building, where customers formerly dropped off laundry, will be an air conditioned space Krager described as a “community room.” He envisions patrons relaxing before or after workouts while grabbing a refreshment.”We’re in talks with some local shops and vendors to create a coffee shop/tap room,” Krager explained.
The middle section, now populated by big laundry equipment, will be taken down to the studs for renovation: electricity and plumbing upgraded, showers added. This larger, climate controlled space will function as a multipurpose fitness room for a variety of workouts and yoga classes. Krager embraced yoga once he retired from football–he played for Leander High School, Angelo State University, the NFL (here and in Europe) and Arena Football League. (With his movie star good looks, Krager’s also portrayed a football player on the screen; look for him as Willis in “Friday Night Lights” and as a stunt double in Adam Sandler’s 2005 remake of The Longest Yard).
The back room, however, is something athletes can get especially excited about. Krager will be putting in glass doors “so you can see the action.” He’s salvaging as much of the original building material as possible to provide the same industrial, no-nonsense decor found in the flagship Dane’s Body Shop. By rolling up the garage doors, the big space will open to the outside, and the back alley may even be pressed into service for run training. Krager gestured down the street to point out houses that are “a stone’s throw away,” so there’ll be no pumping music or loud clanging of weights. “We want our neighbors to love us,” he stressed. “That’s our passion, mixing well with the community.”
It’s that sense of unity, the focus on “intertwining different workout regimens,” that fuels Krager’s fire. “It’s our goal to be welcoming to all different levels,” he said. “We don’t want to pigeon-hole what we do, and we’ll never claim to be the ‘be-all, end-all’ of fitness.”
With help from operations director John Whiteley, Krager strives to create a well oiled business structure that provides high end customer service derived from client feedback. Because they’re continually putting a finger on their members’ pulse, offerings at the two locations may vary greatly. This is in keeping with Krager’s philosophy: fitness should be “ever evolving, malleable” and meet a “healthy mixture of needs.”
When Will Dane’s Body Shop Open on Manor?
In a perfect world, Krager will have a rolling opening to the new Dane’s Body Shop. He plans to be on site every day, something he feels is crucial to assessing the Manor Road clientele’s desires. Krager would like to hold introductory workout groups in late August, and he sees a full opening around the beginning of October 2015.
As at the Guadalupe flagship shop, there will be some free Sunday morning workouts so those interested in the gym can give it a try before purchasing memberships (unlimited classes, with monthly installments, or a one year lump sum payment) or punch cards (amount varies, based on number of classes).
Get a taste of Dane’s Body Shop this month on Sundays at 10:30 AM. Free workouts are provided in partnership with lululemon athletica at the Domain.
To find out more about upcoming classes at both locations (Guadalupe and Manor Road), visit the Dane’s Body Shop Facebook page or gym website.
@Leahruns100 wants to know:
What kind of workout or exercise do you like best?
Awesome article, Leah! Thanks!
My pleasure! It’s fun to point out native Austinites who are fulfilling their dreams right here in town. And I love sharing information about this city, especially when it touches on health and wellness.
Who, I ask, would have thought there was ANYTHING truly original left for a gym to do in this world? I didn’t [removes egg from face].
i remember the energy and the culture at Dane’s being the thing I found most striking (and highly suspect) at first: I looked around (like one might when it dawns on them that they might have accidentally joined a cult?); I thought “Why the hell is everyone so friggin happy, they’re working out, like hard, and they’re sweating too for god sakes!??”
I LOATHED working out (it was, to me, always a necessary evil) and I’d have prob wagered something huge that they were pumping something illicit through the air ducts…still, by my third visit I’d become one of them (look mom, I can sweat, be happy, and not fly into an irritable rage)!
Ugh! I don’t know what it is about these gems getting discovered. I’m ashamed of how it makes me feel: of course on the one hand i want them to succeed, but there’s also that a part of me (you know, the “Mine! It’s all Mine!” selfish part) that wishes your favorite things would stay the same; everything frozen in its same perfect state forever!
Still, they deserve the recognition, and despite growing prob every month since i got there, Dane’s (with the help and support of their killer team and amazing member family) managed to pull off one improvement after another since.
You guys have forged something really remarkable, really unique, and special there. So good luck at your new location Dane’s!
Update on Dane’s: I just got through to talking to Dane for our neighborhood newsletter, The Flea, and the permit process with City of Austin has been a frustrating slow-down. They just had a free Sunday workout from the shop (check their website for the next upcoming eastside free workout; my husband went) and they’re hoping for a grand opening in late November. Watch Dane’s Body Shop website and social media for updates. Until then, Dane says to stop by and say “hi”–he’s out there, getting his hands dirty with the remodeling.