Thomas Edison had a fast answer for a reporter who asked what is was like to fail 2,000 times before successfully inventing the light bulb.
"I never failed once," Edison replied. "It just happened to be a 2,000-step process."
Keven Rush knows what Edison was talking about.
Rush expected to move his business, the Payson Athletic Club, into the new Rim Country Mall not long after he first signed his lease almost two years ago. Since that time, Rush was given more green lights and more red lights than he can remember.
But Tuesday, finally, Rush completed his own 2,000-step process by flinging open the doors to his brand new health and fitness facility and planning his grand opening, tentatively scheduled for April 20.
"Oh, man, hallelujah. Thank God it's finally over," Rush said during an equipment-hauling break. "I am so excited, and so is everyone else here. It's just gonna be fantastic."
That is not to say Rush has waded beyond all attendant disappointments.
"We're not going to be fully functional for a little while, since we're still waiting for some of our new equipment to be delivered," he said. "We'd hoped to be able to open up and say, 'This is everything, look at how cool this is!' But this will give us a chance between now and the grand opening to work out any kinks that come up."
Working out kinks, of course, is an art Rush has learned to master over the past two years. But the education wasn't always easy.
"I'll be honest, it was frustrating," he said. "But there was a lesson in it for me about the whole process of working with a new building ... a lesson in grace and patience. And now we're excited about finally getting the chance to implement a lot of programs and services we've been wanting to provide and a lot of equipment we've wanted to install but couldn't because of our space limitations.
"Plus, the new facility looks good and is much more functional than what we had," he said. "One of the neat things is that we'll be able to separate the weightlifters from the fitness and health people, and make it much more comfortable and accommodating for everyone involved."
Additions to the club's program menu, Rush said, will include an eight-week exercise and nutrition course; a weight-loss course; 'Trainer talk' sessions, offering free fitness advice and tips; child-care and child-fitness programs; such senior programs as a "Fit-and-Sit" armchair aerobics class; and a vastly increased variety of aerobics classes.
The new and improved Payson Athletic Club also will boast a Back to Basics "Just Makin' Juice" juice bar; two new tanning machines (one a bed, the other an upright booth); a 380-square-foot child care room; a massage therapist; a pro shop with clothes and sports items; and a "Cardio Theater," featuring aerobic equipment set up with headphones and remote controls; and a separate weight and fitness room spanning 3,000 square feet.
"The really nice thing," Rush said, sweeping the last two years behind him, "is that once we're all done and everything is moved and assembled and installed, we'll have a really nice product. One that was definitely worth waiting for."
The Payson Athletic Club is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Mondays through Fridays; 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 474-0916.