YMCA of Coastal Georgia Holds Ceremonial “Golden Sledgehammer Swing” as West Chatham YMCA Renovation Begins


Pooler Branch to Transform into a Modern Wellness Center

(SAVANNAH, Ga.) As part of a broader effort to update and modernize the YMCA of Coastal Georgia locations, the transformation of current YMCA locations into health and well-being centers are beginning with Pooler’s West Chatham YMCA branch.

YMCA held a ceremonial “Golden Sledgehammer Swing” to commemorate the groundbreaking of the renovation project. During the event, pre-K students from West Chatham’s Child Learning Center gave a short performance.

Felder & Associates, a distinguished and award-winning architecture firm in Savannah specializing in historic preservation, commercial and high-end residential building projects, participated in the ceremony alongside West Construction.

“It’s been 20 years since the West Chatham YMCA was updated. So we found a multitude of opportunities to better use floor space to serve the core constituency better. We’re adding glass walls for openness and transparency; the childcare areas will be expanded into space for both younger and older children, and we’re adding more space for machines, cardio and free weights in the fitness area,” explained Brian Felder, Founder and Principal Architect.

“The YMCA is a pillar of our community, and with all of the growth in the Pooler area, the renovated West Chatham YMCA will have something for all walks of life. It’s a very forward-thinking endeavor for the Y,” said Matt West, West Construction Company.

The $1.6 million investment intends to address challenges faced by the community in the post-pandemic reality. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average body mass index (BMI) has nearly doubled in children. Additionally, 43% of Americans report having worse exercise habits than before the pandemic, and 31% report that financial hardship prevented them from seeking health care in 2021, according to a Gallup Poll.

As the modern YMCA pivots to an overall wellness focus, proven programs to prevent and control chronic diseases are given the same priority as physical fitness. In addition to expanded and updated exercise areas, the new YMCA will offer space for nutrition education and community peer support.

“We maintained an understanding of the bigger picture goal in making this a modern health and wellness center, so that played into our decisions on everything, from updating all surfaces, floors and ceilings — making them easier to clean and maintain — to ensuring the space we were repurposing was put to better use,” Felder added. “The fitness center is going to be better than many pay gyms in the area.”

While the YMCA’s flagship Habersham location is also slated for an upgrade, the volume at the West Chatham location compelled the YMCA board to start the renovations at the West Chatham YMCA. Opened in 2001, it was one of only a few businesses on its stretch of Pooler Parkway at the time. In 2021 it was one of the busiest of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s 10 branch locations, serving 6,757 members and 1,638 program participants who registered 121,839 visits over the course of the year.

“With this much-needed renovation, we’re looking ahead to the future and working to ensure that our facilities and services are ready to serve for the next 50 years,” says Joel Smoker, YMCA of Coastal Georgia CEO.

The project is expected to take approximately six months, with completion at the end of winter 2023.

“We’re a community-minded firm, so it’s an honor to work on a project like this. The YMCA is a foundational part of the Savannah area, and a lot of heart went into this. We look forward to seeing it through,” said Felder.

West added, “Our company enjoys projects that improve our community, and the YMCA makes us all better in so many ways. We’re excited to be on the team.”

The YMCA of Coastal Georgia has been serving the Coastal Georgia community for over 167 years and continues to work every day to advance its cause to strengthen the community through its three areas of focus: youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Today the YMCA of Coastal Georgia operates 11 units in Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties; included is the YMCA’s Before- and After-School Enrichment Program operating in 55 elementary and middle schools throughout the markets served. The YMCA serves men and women, girls and boys of all ages and from all walks of life. All of this and more is accomplished while putting forth the Y mission to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.

Established in 2012, Felder & Associates specializes in historic preservation, commercial architecture, adaptive reuse architecture, corporate interior design, high-end residential design, green building, and neo-traditional building. The firm has a staff of LEED-accredited architects and interior designers who focus on sustainability. Locally, Felder & Associates is a member of the Savannah Chamber of Commerce and Historic Savannah Foundation. The firm is also nationally connected in the American Institutes of Architects, the American Society of Interior Designers and the United States Green Building Council. Felder & Associates is a member of the International Interior Design Association. In 2014, Felder & Associates received a historic preservation award from the Historic Savannah Foundation and the best architecture firm award from Savannah Magazine. Felder & Associates recently completed the Greyhound bus depot in the Savannah historic district. The firm is located at 2514 Abercorn St. Suite 110, Savannah, GA 31401. For more information or to contact Felder & Associates, call (912) 777-3979, or visit felderassociates.net.

West Construction Company, established in 2014 and headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, is an award-winning, mid-sized commercial construction company built on a reputation of quality, integrity, and discipline. West Construction Company’s purpose is to build quality projects and quality people through trusting relationships, service to our clients, partners, and our community.

Cynthia Cradduck
Managing Partner of Cecilia Russo Marketing

Enmarket Donates $5,000 to Savannah Area Nonprofit Organizations Through 2016 Encourage Health Series


Enmarket Donates $5,000 to Savannah Area Nonprofit Organizations Through 2016 Encourage Health Series

(SAVANNAH, GA) During its 2016 Encourage Health Educational Series, enmarket has donated $5,000 to four area nonprofit organizations: The Coastal Georgia Council of Boy Scouts of America, Savannah AMBUCS, Savannah Tree Foundation and Urban Hope, Inc.

In conjunction with Healthy Savannah and other sponsors, the fuel and convenience store chain presented $1,000 grants during each lecture.

“We are committed to helping Savannah become a healthier community, and the Encourage Health Series is specifically geared to help show all of us how live healthier lives,” said Matt Clements, enmarket’s director of marketing. ”This is a win-win for all of us – those nonprofit organizations receiving the grant money and the audience members who enjoy learning about new ways to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

The company was founded in 1963 as Interstate Stations, then rebranded as “Enmark” in 1983 and most recently as “enmarket” in 2015 to reflect fresh and healthy food options.

To further its commitment to helping people live healthier lives, enmarket established the Encourage Health Series and in conjunction with other local sponsors, has presented a series of four lectures throughout the year for the past three years, calling on respected experts to share insights on nutrition, fitness and general tips for healthy living.

The 2016 program was co-sponsored by GulfstreamSandfly Family DentalHealthy SavannahSavannah Morning NewsSavannah Magazine and GPB Savannah – WSVH 91.1/WWIO 89.9.

In April, The Coastal Georgia Council of Boy Scouts of America was selected to be awarded the first of the 2016 series’ $1,000 grants. This nonprofit organization combines educational activities with value-driven projects in order to mold young men and encourage them to make ethical and moral decisions throughout their future. The event featured a presentation by Kevin Klinkenberg, “Going Old School: Walk Your Way to Better Health,” encouraging attendees to make walking a part of their everyday lives.

In June, a $1,000 grant was presented to Urban Hope, which helps inner city children create better lives for themselves. Ellen Blossman’s presentation, “Eat Well and Boost Your Energy With Phytochemicals,” addressed the role of chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants and help prevent cancer and their relation to overall health.

At the third event in August, the $1,000 Encourage Health grant went to the Savannah Tree Foundation, a 33-year-old nonprofit organization that works to protect trees in Savannah and Chatham County. The lecture featured Denise Grabowski presenting “10 Ways Buildings Affect Your Mission to Healthy Life.” Grabowski said most people spend time indoors and explained how buildings can affect overall physical, mental and social wellbeing.

In October, the final lecture in the series benefitted the Savannah AMBUCS with a $1,000 grant and featured a presentation by Bauer Coslick: “10 Ways to Reduce Inflammation in the Body to Improve Longevity Through Acupuncture Practices.” Coslick is the owner of Vitality: Acupuncture +Integrative medicine. AMBUCS is an organization dedicated to bringing mobility and independence to people with disabilities, primarily through donating their Amtryke therapeutic tricycles to those in need.

AMBUCS also received a $1,000 grand prize for collecting the greatest number of votes from fans of the four nonprofits. At the beginning of the series, each organization received a QR code to be scanned at any of the 61 area enmarket stores. No purchases were necessary, but supporters had to go into a store to vote.

All of the 2016 enmarket Encourage Health Education Series lunchtime programs were held at the Savannah Morning News Auditorium, 1375 Chatham Parkway. Information about the 2017 program, including speakers, recipients and lecture dates, will be announced in early 2017.

(LEFT TO RIGHT) Matt Clements, enmarket; Kevin Sheehan, AMBUCS; Paula Kreissler, Healthy Savannah


Enmarket Encourage Health Check Presentation to Boy Scouts


Enmarket presents Savannah Tree Foundation 1000 check at Encourage Health Series


Enmarket’s 2016 series of wellness lectures is sponsored by Healthy Savannah, Sandfly Family Dental, Savannah Morning News, Savannah Magazine, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. and GPB Savannah – WSVH 91.1/WWIO 89.9.
The series features four presentations from experts sharing insights on nutrition, fitness and general tips for healthy living. Selected 501©3 nonprofit organizations are awarded a $1,000 grant from Encourage Health Education Sponsors and allotted an enmarket Dollar Day, along with a chance to win a grand prize at the end of the series. For more information, visit http://enmarket.com/EncourageHealthSeries

Founded as Interstate Stations in 1963 by Robert Demere, Enmark Stations, Inc., which recently rebranded as enmarket, is a family-run business committed to offering its customers top-notch service and superior products. Today, the Savannah-based company, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2013, operates 60 stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Enmarket’s mission is to Enrich Life! Stores offer freshly prepared food and healthy snacks, high-quality double filtered gasoline, beverages, lottery services and more. Enmarket customers can save up to $.10 per gallon by using the company’s Cash Card, a reloadable stored-value card that can be used directly at the pump. Coupons, promotions, and a location finder are available on the free mobile app. For more information on enmarket, please call 912-236-1331 or visit www.enmarket.com. Follow enmarket on Twitter at @enmarkenjoy.

Matt Clements
Director of Marketing

Cynthia Wright
Director of Communications
Carriage Trade PR

Dawn Baker and Fleet Feet Sports Savannah Present Movement in the Park


Zumba, Walk, Run, Dance! It doesn’t matter how you move … just move!

SAVANNAH, GA. Join the third annual “Movement in the Park,” a health and wellness fair for all ages on Sunday, May 15, 2016 – 2:00P.M.-5:00P.M. in Forsyth Park.  Participants can join in the “Dawning of a Miracle Mile” (a one mile walk/run), Zumba and all kinds of dances, health screenings, vendors, refreshments, fun and a whole lot more. It is a way of introducing everyone to fun ways to move and get active and start a healthier lifestyle.

Sponsored by News Anchor and Author –Dawn Baker and Fleet Feet Sports Savannah, the health and wellness fair benefits “The Dawning of a Miracle Scholarship,” (administered by Savannah Community Foundation) a $1,000 scholarship awarded every year to a Chatham County Public or Private School college-bound female graduating senior who has a chronic/life-threatening illness, or has experienced serious hardship and has succeeded in spite of adversity.
Donation for this event is only $10.00.

We are urging everyone to join us for the fun, refreshments and give-a-ways.
You may register online at: http://dawnbakeronline.com/index.php?id=30.

For questions or additional information, please call (912) 232-6048 or email us at: contactus@dawnbakeronline.com.

Contact: Lula L. Baker, Public Relations Manager
Phone: 912-232-6048 or 888-749-9133
Email: contactus@dawnbakeronline.com

Picture Caption- Participants Working Out at “Movement in the Park”.jpg