Evanston’s Design and Project Review Committee is scheduled this afternoon to discuss plans for a new outpost of the national fitness chain Spenga at 1026 Davis St.

The business, which would fill the empty portion of the building that also houses LuLu’s, Taco Diablo and Five & Dime, would be run by Kathleen Smith, who also owns the Spenga franchise at The Glen.

Spenga is an abbreviation of spnning, strength training and yoga — which Smith says the fitness studio combines into 60 minute workouts.

1026 Davis St. (Google Maps)

Smith, a Wilmette resident, says in an email to city staff included in the packet for the DAPR meeting that she and her family previously lived in downtown Evanston and is looking forward to making her business a part of it.

The business would operate from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and would have three to five employees per shift and classes would serve between 10 and two dozen customers at a time.

She also says “amplified music will be coantained within the space and not utilized at any time when a door or window is open.”

The special use permit for the business will require City Council approval.

Another fitness business, Title Boxing Club, is located directly across the street at 1029 Davis St.

Update 9/14/17: The DAPR committee voted 10-0 to recommend approval of the special use permit to City Council.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Next big thing

    I remember Spenga when it was called “Fit Girl Studio” and located on Maple, .1 miles away from Taco Diablo. These workout franchises try to differentiate in ways that potential exercisers care about, but they are all pretty much the same. Spenga claims to be “the best workout ever” by combinging stretch, stretching, and cardiovascular training.  (Other than everywhere, where have I heard that before?) I have previously cataloged Evanston workout concept casualties in online comments, refreshing the memories of those who have hazy (or no) recollection of Box Evanston or Ecycle.  I must admit, however, that stand-along yoga studios have exhibited major staying power (although Dharma Yoga and White Iris, may they RIP.) Which reminds me, I should check to see if “Exhale” in E2 has made a go of it. In any event, even with increasing population density downtown, novel exercise concepts face very difficult long-term prospects and often end up in the Groupon bargain bin.      

    1. Exhale

      Don’t hold your breath. My understanding is that they’ve closed. At least there’s no longer an Evanston location listed on Exhale’s website.

      Not sure “Fit Girl Studio” and “Spenga” are related. What makes you think they are?

      — Bill

    2. White Iris Yoga

      I beg your pardon but White Iris Yoga is alive and well after 26 years. Still located @ 1822 Ridge.

    3. It’s disappointing to see

      It’s disappointing to see these negative comments before an enterprise has even been launched. What purpose does disparagement serve, other than to support the continued vacancy of a vacant retail space? There is no mention in the story of any City of Evanston monetary support for the project; why are we so quick to quash private business initiatives?   

  2. Owner

    I was underwhelmed with the execution of this latest fitness trend when I attended a class in Glenview.  Trivia: the owner, Kathleen Smith, is Lovie Smith’s daughter-in-law. 

  3. Interesting Concept

    Does combining spinning and Jenga really result in a better workout? What’s next, Spinopoly? 

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