In Chicago, Illinois, Quads Gym boasts a long and successful history. What started as several guys working out and lifting heavy weights in a basement turned into much more than what could have been expected.
According to Dave De Young, the owner of Quads Gym, the journey from home gym to bodybuilder hot spot has been a long but natural one.
The escapade began in late co-owner Tom Milanovich’s basement. “We had a hack squat down there, we had a leg press down there — we had all this equipment,” recalled De Young. “We had too much equipment down there. We were outgrowing the basement.”
The name Quads Gym comes from more than just the muscle, De Young explained. “We had a little club, and we had four guys,” he said. “And it’s a muscle in your leg, but we also had four friends.”
Eventually, it was more than just the four guys using the gym. “We just thought that, you know, we always had other friends other than just the four of us come downstairs,” he said. “So … we looked at each other and [said], ‘Maybe we should make this a business.’”
Although a pair of the original four weren’t interested in pursuing the business adventure, Milanovich’s mom supported the idea. “We were [messing up] the ceiling tiles and the floor tiles,” De Young said, laughing.
The first Quads Gym location opened in May of 1976.
De Young is most proud of the variety of equipment found within his gym. All available space is filled to the brim with metal and wooden logs, cardio, strength and more. He believes one of his only shortcomings is a lack of space for members to use. “If I had one thing that I wish I had more [of], it would probably be open space for people to do more stretching out,” he said.
Quads Gym doesn’t have an initiation fee and rates haven’t changed in the past 19 years. De Young has strived to build a gym that welcomes every person — from working parents to Strongmen competitors, grandparents looking to get fit and pro athletes exercising in the off-season.
Although there are several gyms near his, De Young feels as if his gym has its own niche and place in the community. “People come here all the time asking for jobs,” he said. “And I’ll say, ‘You can give me a resume but I really don’t need anybody right now.’ Everybody that works here has been here for a long time. They don’t want to leave. They like being around this place. They like working here. They know what they have to do to work and they do a good job and they’re very honest people and they’ve been here for a long, long time.”
De Young isn’t sure his gym has a theme, but he definitely knows what he wants it to accomplish.
“My theme would be that I want everybody … every time they come in here, to have the best workout they possibly can with the equipment we have,” said De Young.