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Verizon Exec Buys Fitness Center In Wilmington

By Cece Nunn, posted Jan 4, 2018

A fitness studio on South Kerr Avenue in Wilmington has a new owner and is adding new programs to assist women in the community with their fitness and health goals, according to an announcement Thursday.

GoGirl Fitness Studio, a female-focused training facility at 914 S. Kerr Ave., was recently acquired by Beverly Okenyi (pictured below), a Verizon executive.

Okenyi’s decision to invest in the business was spurred by her now general manager and head trainer, Pandora Williams, according to a news release from MoMentum Companies, which brokered the sale for an undisclosed amount.

Williams has struggled in the past to lose more than 260 pounds, twice, the release said. 

“Pandora was my trainer for three years. Her experience and passion to influence her clients with her 'If I can do it, anyone can do it' mission gave me the confidence that our combined backgrounds would equal success in owning and running GoGirl,” Okenyi said in the release.

GoGirl supports nutrition and fitness goals by offering programs that include personal training, group training and nutrition education and that are designed for women by women, in a supportive small-group environment, the release said. 

“Helping Beverly, and in turn Pandora, with purchasing the studio was a pleasure,” said Joan Loch of Wilmington-based MoMentum Companies, in the release. “GoGirl was our client, and finding the right qualified buyer for the right reason is always our goal and it makes for a smooth transition for the seller and the buyer.”

Williams has battled obesity since she was 5 years old, experiencing almost every struggle associated with it. She now has 40 half-marathons to her credit and has been named the 2017 Bariathelete of the Year by the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America, among other honors, the release said. 

Williams (pictured below) is a certified trainer whose passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle has led to her becoming a motivational speaker, according to the release. 

“I’ve been there myself. You see, I am what they call an 'Obesity Rebel.' I once weighed 420 pounds and struggled with my weight from the time I was a kid.  I know others can relate to me and I want to help them at any size and lead them to being fit and healthy,” she said.  “Just because I am passionate about weight loss doesn’t mean I am not just as passionate about those who were always fit. Some of us want to maintain where we are. We cater to all fitness levels”.

Okenyi has a different story, the release said, because although she was not an overweight child, she started gaining weight as an adult. She met Williams in Wilmington and worked with her because of their reciprocal experiences. 

"Beverly realized that she could not give up the fight and continued to work with her personal trainer. Pandora never made her feel ashamed when the weight wouldn’t come off," the release said. "Thus, Beverly wanted to help other women who strive to get fit and stay fit."

Okenyi and Williams plan to reach out to the Wilmington community "so they also feel comfortable," a process that they started in December, according to the release. 

Okenyi relocated to Wilmington with her position at Verizon and is currently the senior manager of employee accounts. According to the release, she intends to continue working at the telecommunications company while overseeing GoGirl Fitness Studio.

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