Word on the Street: MMA gym opens 2nd location

October 17, 2010 

The American Kickboxing Academy, Fresno is trying to hit another side of town by opening its second mixed martial arts gym.

AKA Fresno 2 is now open for class registration at the new Sunnyside gym on the southwest corner of Kings Canyon Road and Peach Avenue. The gym is owned by MMA fighter Josh Koscheck and Jason Craft, a Wall Street stockbroker and former collegiate wrestler.

The 5,500-square-foot gym is slightly smaller than the original location, at Marks and Bullard avenues, but still offers training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, mixed martial arts, kickboxing, Muay Thai, boxing and children's wrestling and mixed martial arts.

"If you look at the trend of growth in Fresno, this is where the growth is going on," Craft said.

The owners hope to pull in young Hispanics and draw people in from the nearby cities of Sanger, Reedley and Fowler.

AKA joins several other gyms offering mixed martial arts training. They include LA Boxing on East Champlain Drive and American Academy of Martial Arts in Clovis and Fresno.

Snare-ing a new site

A longtime Fresno drum store has moved to a new and larger location. Bentley's Drum Shop Inc. took over the Blackstone Avenue space once occupied by appliance store Bilsten's, which closed during the summer.

The move is an expansion and consolidation for Bentley's.

For nearly 19 years, the store operated out of a 2,200-square-foot space on East Shields Avenue, a block west of Blackstone Avenue. The business grew, and owner Dana Bentley rented a 1,500-square-foot and a 1,200-square-foot warehouse.

"Drums take up space," he said. He said he needed room to store drums he shipped internationally and merchandise on layaway.

Bentley's moved into the new location, at 4477 N. Blackstone Ave., in late September and no longer uses the warehouses. The new location has 11,000 square feet, enough for storage and a 5,000-square-foot store.

Sputnik launches

Sputnik, a "co-working" office space in the Tower District, is scheduled to open in the next few weeks.

Ian Reith is opening Sputnik in the 2,200-square-foot space that Silva Designs hair salon left on Wishon Avenue when it consolidated into its River Park Planet Hair location.

The business allows paying members who don't need large offices or can't afford them to rent desks. It also includes a conference room.

Sputnik, which Reith said has a 1950s space-age design theme, features a wireless Internet connection and a mini kitchen.

The business will open by Nov. 1 and is accepting members at www.sputnikfresno.com.

It's a concept similar to OfficeBay in Clovis, but on a smaller scale.

Bee staff writers BoNhia Lee and Bethany Clough contributed to Word on the Street. It was compiled by Lee. The reporters can be reached at blee@fresnobee.com, bclough@fresno bee.com or (559) 44

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