Glenview’s new fitness franchise focuses on the benefits of stretching

After talking to Ben Smith, the energetic and enthusiastic owner of Glenview’s Stretch Zone, I got the feeling he was aiming the pitch of his new location directly at me.

First Smith states that “our target age group is around 50 to 70 years old”. OK, hands up there, I’m right in the middle of this illustrious age group.

Then Smith adds, “It’s especially good for those who have a little trouble getting out of bed in the morning.” OK, that hits a little too close to home.

And then he adds “for those who need to increase their flexibility and range of motion to improve their daily functions”. They might as well put me on the cover of their brochure.

So, with that as an introduction all too close to home, I welcome you to Glenview’s newest addition to unique and specific fitness and health: The Stretch Zone located at 2671 Navy Blvd., right in heart of The Glen, and specializes only in the art, technique and benefits of stretching.

Note that this is not casual stretching and preparation for an exercise situation, but rather a scientifically researched program designed for intensive, clinical stretching as a way to feel better, perform better and improve mobility and muscle function.


“All of our practitioners go through an intense training and certification program,” Smith said. “People of all ages will feel the value of it. It can help the 55-year-old golfer with the flexibility they need, the avid weightlifter, the young athlete, anyone participating in sports, or just the ordinary person looking to feel better, stay healthy and stay injury and pain free.”

Smith is one of three owners of the Stretch Zone in Glenview. The other two may be familiar to you. Older Glenview football fans may remember Jason Loerzel, a native of Park Ridge and Maine South All-Stater in 1997, who as a linebacker, defensive end and wide receiver for the Hawks regularly torched our beloved Titans and Spartans.

The third owner? You may have heard of him. One of the best NFL quarterbacks of all time and soon-to-be Hall of Famer Drew Brees, who played for the New Orleans Saints.

All three played college ball at the time at Purdue University.

“We were all part of the class of ’97,” Smith said. “We shared the room and became best friends, and even after our college careers ended, we remained close, taking family vacations together and visiting often. We had always talked about the three of us to embark on a sort of business, but we had to wait for Drew to finish his professional football career.”

It turned out to be quite a long wait. Brees had a remarkable and extended 20-year career in the NFL, setting many passing records along the way, and it was only recently that he decided to retire at the age of 41.

Then, finally, the company presented itself, and the idea came almost by chance.

“Drew had tried a Stretch Zone in Louisiana, and he really liked it,” Smith said. “He thought it was a unique idea with a lot of potential, so he reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, I think I’ve got something that could really work for us. “

That was the beginning, and from there it grew.

The Stretch Zone is a national franchise with over 200 locations nationwide. The three amigos – Smith, Loerzel and Brees – decided to give it a shot. They bought six locations in Louisiana (Brees has his connections in New Orleans and Loerzel lives there now, as his wife is from the area), and they also opened three in Indianapolis.

Their 10th and most recent location? Right here in Glenview.

“We were looking for the right place,” Loerzel said. “We looked at Park Ridge, Highland Park, Arlington Heights and a few others, but the Glenview spot suited us perfectly. And due to the recent pandemic, showcases were available at reasonable rates.

“We hope this will be the first of many here in the Chicago area,” said Loerzel, who when asked about his memories of playing Glenbrook South and North replied politely. “Yeah, I think we handled them quite easily. So if I remember correctly.”

Unfortunately for Spartan and Titan fans at the time, he remembered it correctly. And even though I was just talking to him on the phone, I could almost feel Loerzel smiling on the other end of the line.

But now the ex-Maine South star and his two longtime friends are part of the community that was once a rival. Reverse karma, a beautiful thing.

But going back to Stretch Zone itself, which opened last May, it’s a place where they really focus on the specific fitness aspect of stretching, which has always been part of most routines. fitness – usually before or after running, swimming, lifting, etc.

But here? Stretching is taken to a whole new level. This is their one and only goal. At Stretch Zone, the practitioners do the work, guiding you through the full range of motion, lifting, pulling and stretching the muscles, perhaps to limits you never knew they could reach. Although most of it is done by trained hands, bands, belts and straps are used to help.

The final result ? A post-stretch feeling that rejuvenates the whole body, decreases minor soreness, improves muscle mobility and flexibility, and improves performance in just about any type of physical activity.

It’s a unique concept just waiting to take off in popularity.

“Our biggest challenge,” Smith said, “is letting the community know we’re here and the help we can offer. We’re really excited about the Glenview location and hope it takes off, all like our nine others who have all succeeded”

So for anyone looking for a different type of workout experience, this is it. Our newest offering here in our hometown.

As I write this I am unfortunately out of town but the boys have promised me a free tour when I get back.

Given the strange crackle my bones make every time I get up these days, and the slow and painful approach to getting out of bed, or even worse out of the car after a long drive – I I will definitely accept this offer.

In fact, the way things are going, I might even apply for a lifetime membership.

• Jon Cohn of Glenview is a coach, retired physical education teacher, sports official and pre-sports enthusiast. To contact him with comments or story ideas, email

Leave a Comment