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Two Good Ole Pelion Boys making their mark in the Community

Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – Two men who both went to Pelion schools and played on the same sports teams, have now connected as adults and opened a business together. John McDonald said that he and Todd Bolton became reacquainted and brought to reality a dream that McDonald has had for years. They’ve just opened a gym and fitness center near Pelion.

As the two grew into adults, they each opened a small business. Todd opened a HVAC company called Titan Mechanical, and John became a painting and sheetrock contractor doing business as Big Carolina. The two began to do business together and sometimes talked about their goals for their lives.

For years, Todd knew John wanted to open a gym in the Pelion area. “There’s never been a successful one out this way,” John said. “With the right work ethic and caring for the client, I just know one would be successful and benefit the area.” John said he always liked to help people better themselves and he’s a great motivator. “I know if all the pieces came together at the right time, this would work,” he’d tell Todd.

One day as the two men were talking about business, John brought up the gym again. Todd told him, “Why don’t you stop talking about that gym and do it. We could make it happen together.” Right then, the pair knew the time and opportunity was right and there was no turning back.

On November 9th, 2019, John and Todd held a ribbon cutting for Sandpit Strength & Fitness. It’s located at 6200 Edmund Hwy, Lexington, SC. Although Google may say this is Lexington, it’s between Edmund and Pelion where Crystal Springs Drive turns off for southern Lexington County folks.

Upon entering the gym, you wouldn’t recognize this place as the old tire store it use to be. It’s been completely redone from the bones out. There’s a check-in desk that’s manned by one of the two partners who opens the doors at 5 a.m. until the Program Manager, Amber Corbett, comes in to work the day. Behind the counter, they stock and sell delicious high protein bars and other healthy snacks, drinks, and supplements.

The gym floor, which is now part carpeted and part rubber mats near the free weights for safety, has machines of every size, shape, and description. Some equipment like bikes and rowing machines are for cardio and others are for strength training. There are also lots of free weights and everything associated with those. Out front is a big sandbox with a wood framed structure that has pull-up bars, an old car axle for bench pressing, and will soon feature a speed and heavy punching bag.

In the rear of the building is the business’s namesake, the sand pit! It will soon be filled with soft sand for extreme workouts. Todd and John say that working out in sand is healthy and builds strength and conditioning faster. There are some huge earthmover tires for flipping and they hope to hold some extreme competitions there in the future. According to John and Todd, there are few expositions around the state but no real competitions of this type.

The Sandpit also offers Personal Training services. Their current Personal Trainers include Ryan Skelton, Morgan Payne, and Elisia Norris. Ryan Skelton is employed full-time with the Army, training soldiers daily. Soon he will be entering the world as a civilian again, devoting more time at the Sandpit. Morgan Payne is a fitness model for a major supplement brand and Elisia Norris is a nationally recognized fitness model. Morgan and Elisia have several years of experience in the world of Fitness and Nutrition and are excited to share their knowledge with clients of the Sand Pit. The Sand Pit staffers are in the process of preparing a beginner’s course so the last thing clients have to worry about is the machines and how they are properly operated.

The Sandpit is set on being an “outside of the box” style gym.They want to include activities and events that spark interest in clients of all walks of life. Be on the lookout for a Children’s Fitness program! Please note that while teens are welcome, this isn’t a place to hang out. It’s a gym to get and stay fit.

Sand Pit is a full-service gym and more. They are equipped to help beginners or the HULK! Intimidation is not the goal!However, if you do need help or someone to motivate you, a Sandpit Staff member will be there for you. For just $25 per month with no contact, you can work out from 5 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. seven days a week. Soon there will be a 24-hour keycard access!!

For a free gym tour, just stop by 6200 Edmund Hwy, Lexington, SC 29073. You can also get more information by calling theGym at (803) 888-7571 or visiting their website at

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Call Paul Kirby

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