Work friends create new work, workouts together

Slim and Tone offers women a workout and nutrition alternative

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Melanie Nero and Loretta Daniels will offer women in Oak Park a fitness and nutrition alternative when Slim and Tone opens soon at 132-34 W. Harrison St.

The 30-minute workout franchise is a competitor of Curves, but Nero and Daniels say Slim and Tone offers more: hydraulic circuit training is augmented with cardio machines, free weights, and classes in yoga, strength training, Pilates and more.

"You're welcome to personalize your workout to fit your needs," Nero said. "It's perfect for busy women."

That's just what Nero and Daniels have been and will continue to be, hoping to build the gym's membership to 400 while they keep their full-time jobs. The gym is staffed by certified personal trainers, but the partners will work there as much as they can.

"It's [a job] that we hope to work full-time eventually," Daniels said.

Slim and Tone was founded by Betsy Ludlow, who continues to oversee the franchise after being bought out by NutriSystem Inc. in December 2004. That gives members an added benefit, the owners say, of pairing NutriSystem's prepared foods weight-loss program with their workout routine.

And the gym gives women an alternative to working out in large gyms, which can be intimidating.

The partners looked around before settling on the Harrison Street space to open their business. "This area just felt right," Daniels said. They also felt the south side of Oak Park needed a gym after Temple Fitness recently closed.

The newly renovated space is part of a building undergoing a major renovation. Owner Rick Filarski, with the help of Oak Park Development Corp., undertook the rehab after his main tenant, Narcotics Anonymous, was forced out by the village in 2004. Facade improvements on two storefronts (the barber shop Roots to Wings and ladies' hair salon Sister to Sister) have begun, and a major upgrade of the corner space-formerly home to NA-is ahead.

"I think you're going to find it's a marquee-looking building when we get done with it," Filarski told Wednesday Journal in July. The hair care businesses remain open during reconstruction.

Slim and Tone will have a grand opening on Nov. 12. Those who join the club early will get discounts on the fee to join the club ($79) and monthly fees ($49). One-on-one tours of the gym are available. For more information, visit or call 660-8663.



This article has been changed to reflect the deceased correct age.

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