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Boulevard News – January 2017

Boulevard News – January 2017

KOR Strength and Conditioning

Kristen Karhio, co-owner of KOR Strength and Conditioning in North Park, has long been a dedicated athlete. However, it wasn’t until a sequence of timely circumstances in her early adult life, that she set on a path to open her own kettlebell gym.

Kristen, a heptathlon athlete, was recruited from Cherry Valley, NY to compete on SDSU’s track and field team. It was there she met her coach and proud mentor, Mike Lobue. During a track practice, Lobue invited Kristen to attend one of his kettlebell classes, a medieval Russian exercise that became a standard practice for Russian military training.  Kristen took to the sport right away. For those wondering what a kettlebell is, Kristen describes them perfectly as cannonballs with handles and highlights their effectiveness in improving mobility, building strength and managing pain.

It wasn’t long before her coach, Mike Lobue, took notice of the determination and skills Kristen demonstrated with kettlebells. Within her first year, Lobue gave Kristen the opportunity to take over teaching one of his Kettlebell classes at Knockout Fitness, a small dojo near SDSU. Kristen quickly recognized her passion for training others and her aspirations to own a Kettlebell gym began to take shape.

From there, while still working towards her interior design degree, Kristen went on to start the kettlebell program at Undisputed, a local mixed martial arts gym. She received a warm welcome from many of the gym’s members who felt the positive results from the sport. With her long-term goal of being a gym owner, teaching the classes gave Kristen the necessary platform to spread awareness of the sport to fellow athletes. While at Undisputed, one of Kristen’s first clients, Dan Bettcher quickly became committed to the sport.  The timing was perfect and they soon became committed business partners and established KOR Gym.  In fact, Dan’s devotion to the business prompted him to go back to school to obtain his MBA.

Upon graduating and teaching at Undisputed for three years, Kristen built up a strong enough base of clients, which her and Dan felt confident could sustain their own kettlebell gym. KOR’s first location was in Mission Hills. When their lease didn’t work out, in a pinch, they relocated to a smaller location in North Park, tucked away in an alley just off of 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard, in between Belching Beaver and Shaper Studios.

KOR doesn’t have the machines people are used to seeing at gyms, which may be intimidating to some, but the staff at KOR couldn’t be more welcoming to the many clients that come through their doors who have never seen a Kettlebell. For those interested in giving Kettlebells a try, KOR offers a foundation course for beginners. This initial class allows Kristen or one of her trainers the opportunity to see where their clients are starting and determine what results they are seeking in order to develop a customized experience.

Kristen and Dan are very pleased with their North Park location, where many of their new members can walk to KOR. Having witnessed the positive changes in the neighborhood for over 10 years, and the community’s interest in supporting small businesses like theirs, Kristen and Dan have decided to remain for the long term. They look forward to making the space work for them, and are considering expanding further into the alley, greatly supporting The Boulevard’s Take Back the Alley initiative.
KOR Gym – 4223 30th Street



New Hub Banners

Thanks to a generous two year sponsorship from the San Diego County Credit Union, new banners on the Boulevard have been hung. They can be seen showcasing our lot activation projects at PopUp15 and Fair@44, as well as our thriving 30ECB (30th & El Cajon Blvd) Hub.

The Boulevard BIA partnered with San Diego State University’s Arts Department to craft the new hub banner designs for Fair@44 and 30ECB. Banners created by graphic design student, Alli Phillips were hung at 30ECB to emphasize the appeal of our most bustling hub. The POPUP 15 banners were designed by Raul Pete Lugo. More of her banner designs are expected in each of our hubs, just as soon as we get the sponsorship needed to cover the costs. A big thank you to SDCCU, SDSU, and Alli Phillips for working with us to make our Boulevard shine.





Celebrating the Unique Cultural of City Heights at Fair @ 44

What:  In celebration of the Lunar New Year, Fair@44 will be holding an Asian Night Market. From 5 – 8pm, guests can enjoy traditional dragon dancing, karaoke, and taste a delicious array of Asian cuisine from local merchants. The weekly Wednesday market vendors, serving an international fare, will continue to serve their specialties at the night market as well, guaranteeing an endless ‘foodie’ experience.


Wednesday, February 1

5pm – 8pm



Fair @ 44- 4350 El Cajon Boulevard


Details: For additional information, contact Beryl Forman, El Cajon Boulevard BIA Marketing and Mobility Coordinator at or (619) 283-3608.




Kicking off on the 1st Sunday in February, the monthly Music Mob, presented in partnership by the El Cajon Boulevard BIA and Gig Town will provide a great line-up of live musicians at the BLVD West’s brunch time venues. From 10 – 2pm, locals are encouraged to peruse the Boulevard while enjoying a lazy Sunday, full of great dining options and drink specials, accompanied by live music sets at these four fabulous businesses.


Negociant Winery: 2419 El Cajon Blvd B, San Diego, CA 92104


Twisted Taps: 2302 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104


Lafayette Hotel: 2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104


Parklet at Mama’s Lebanese and Live Wire: 4237 Alabama St, San Diego, CA 92104



And if Super Bowl Sunday is your priority, stick around and watch the game 🙂




True Motion

2859 El Cajon Blvd Suite 200

Yelper: Laurel and the rest of the staff at True Motion have done an amazing job providing unique services at a highly proficient level in a comfortable space. Their collective expertise extends to fields such as yoga, chiropractic care, and other more obscure aspects relating to optimizing biomechanics. I always leave True Motion feeling rejuvenated! Physically, mentally, and spiritually – truly comprehensive care and instruction!

Click here for more yelp reviews.