Martial arts studio will move into longtime vacant building

Grand opening is planned for July 27 and 28, in downtown Camas

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The building at 217 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas, will soon be occupied by Universal Mixed Martial Arts. Mel and Cherri Locke recently purchased the 4,900 square foot structure for $175,000.

The owners and staff of Universal Mixed Martial Arts are getting ready to relocate the business — back to downtown Camas.

Mel and Cherri Locke have purchased the building at 217 N.E. Fourth Ave., from Marc Fitzgerald, former owner of Fitzgerald’s Fine Wines and Createring. In 2006, Fitzgerald closed his Camas businesses and opened Hooba’s, a restaurant in Husum, Wash.

The purchase price for the 4,900 square foot future martial arts site was $175,000. The longtime vacant space, previously occupied by restaurants including The Turf and Pizza Lu’s, is undergoing $75,000 in renovations by Fosburg Enterprises.

Interior improvements will include framing bathrooms, installing sheet rock and replacing the ceiling, roof and flooring. New paint will be added — inside and out. The five skylights will remain, and two more will be added.

The windows in the front of the building will be replaced, and the doors located to the left of the main entrance will be removed.

When completed, the renovated space will feature heating and air conditioning, nearly wall to wall mats, three training areas and two ADA compliant bathrooms with shower stalls. There will also be two changing rooms, a child’s play area and a retail store.

Locke said a mural, depicting the history of Camas, could be painted on the Adams Street side of the building. He plans to add a 25-minute group fitness workout — universal combat conditioning — at the new location. A grand opening celebration is planned for July 27 and 28, during Camas Days.

Mel Locke started his business with Frank Coones in 1998 at the Washougal Grange. Two-and-a-half years later, it was re-located in a space on the 400 block of Northeast Adams Street in downtown Camas. Locke then moved the business to 212 N.E. Fourth Ave.

The current location at 3517 S.E. Second Ave., Camas, is 2,300 square feet. Coones remains involved in the business as an instructor. Cherri has been a business partner since 2008.

Universal Mixed Martial Arts teaches a variety of classes including kickboxing, Brazilian JiuJitsu, Tiger Yang’s Moo Yea-do and mixed martial arts for children and adults. For more information, call 835-2876 or visit