Black Iron Barbell gets new location downtown

T-R PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM Jake Reynolds, new property owner of the former Diamond Vogel retail store on Linn Street, stands next to the main entrance he will use. Reynolds’ business, Black Iron Barbell, will move from the Marshalltown Mall to downtown with a plan to open in the beginning of 2024.

Downtown Marshalltown is adding a new business to its portfolio — Black Iron Barbell.

Owner Jake Reynolds purchased the former Diamond Vogel retail store property last week, and is preparing to move from Marshalltown Mall to the gym’s new location.

“I was interested in the property,” Reynolds said. “With what is going on at the mall, I knew I was not going to stay here.”

He said it will take a minimum of 30 days to close the building purchase, but he hopes to start the move before Christmas with a goal of opening around the first of the 2024 year. It would be a cool coincidence, he said, if the new gym location opened on Jan. 7. It was the same date this year that Reynolds opened Black Iron Barbell in the Marshalltown Mall. The plan is to have a grand opening at the East Linn building.

“It will be a cheers to a new beginning,” Reynolds said. “I want people to come in and see what it looks like. I want them to get interested in it and see what we can offer.”

Black Iron Barbell was in the mall less than a year before the building owner, Mike Kohan, and his company, the Kohan Retail Investment Group, neglected to pay the electric bill. On Nov. 3, electricity was shut off in the main areas, such as the hallways, the bathrooms and the parking lot. When it happened, Reynolds said he felt a sense of uncertainty.

“I was a little upset,” he said. “Nobody knew what was going on.”

However, the darkness brought some light. Reynolds said the affected businesses got close and banded together.

“We try to help each other out, talk and figure out the plan,” he said. “That was the main and first thing we did.”

The desire to help his fellow mall tenants is sticking with Reynolds. He is moving from a 3,500-square-foot location to a building with 10,500, and figured some of that space could benefit them. Included in the new building is a 1,600-square-foot suite on the southeast side. Reynolds is reaching out to other mall business owners to see if they want to move in there before he offers the space to the rest of the Marshalltown community.

“The mall business owners are first because they’re in a hard spot,” he said. “I am willing to work with them a little bit to make it happen, whatever I can do. I’m willing to help.”

Utilizing all of the space is not a concern. Reynolds easily has enough gym equipment to fill it comfortably and give people room to work out. He spoke about possibilities for additional utilization, but nothing is firm. He is considering hosting weightlifting events, having a supplement store available, and increasing the cardio opportunities.

“I’m looking into having a separate cardio room for people who like that, who want to be in their own cardio bubble,” Reynolds said. “I will possibly do that.”

Working with other downtown businesses is also on his list. Reynolds would like to offer a discount to people who work downtown. He said that might bring people in before their shifts start or during lunch for a good workout. The additional shower and bathroom in the new location can help them get ready for their time spent on their jobs.

“First thing I need is to get in there,” Reynolds said. “I have other ideas down the line I would like to have eventually.”

Transforming the Linn Street building to suit his needs will be the first thing he does. Prior to the electricity shut-off, Reynolds put in a lot of work to get his Marshalltown Mall gym the way he wanted.

“There was a lot of time and money to get it ready,” he said. “This is bittersweet — the amount of work put in to make it how I wanted aesthetically and to flow as a gym. Now I have to do it all over again. Long-term, downtown is exactly where I want to be. The building gives me tons of space, and will bring people downtown.”

The biggest aspect of Black Iron Barbell he wants to promote is the sense of community, which is important to Reynolds.

“Everybody is working to help each other out here,” he said. “I am carrying that to the new location. We are one big family.”

Reynolds is excited to bring the family and community aspect of Black Iron Barbell to downtown Marshalltown.

“I think it gives people another thing to do downtown. It’s something different,” he said. “I am super excited.”


Contact Lana Bradstream

at 641-753-6611 ext. 210 or



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