“We’re the oldest, longest-running gym here,” said Brian Curry who co-owns the second-floor facility, along with partner Shari Simpson, which is located at 1880 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Plaza II Shopping Center. “We’re locally owned, locally operated. It’s not corporate. It’s just like your gym. It’s just like a family.”
The pair purchased the business a couple of years ago from previous owners Peter and Paul Dufour.
Curry is quick to point out all social-distancing protocols are strictly observed.
“We take every member’s temperature coming through the door, so if something should ever happen, we’ve got a record of who’s been in here,” he said, noting no one has had a fever yet more than a week after reopening.
“Masks are highly recommended,” noted Curry, adding members are gradually returning. “When people work out, they wipe down everything before and after,” he said. “And we’re always cleaning.”
Recalling what it was like when they were forced to close March 19 Curry said, “We knew it was coming.”
“It was in the afternoon and it was surreal,” said Simpson. “It was so stepping into the unknown.”
“It was nerve-wracking,” agreed Curry. “But we knew we were in it with everybody else.”
“We locked the door, and we were not sure what tomorrow was going to hold for the gym, or life in general,” said Simpson recalling members asking her, ‘When are you going to be back open? We had no idea.’ It was shock, anxiety, and despair. And then back to anxiety.”
“At that time you had to be closed through the rest of March,” said Curry. “That was just a weird time and we just kept waiting for the reopening.”
“We repainted the whole gym,” said Curry of what they did with Fitness West during the three-month downtime. “We did the deepest sanitizing there ever was. The other things we had to do were all the precautionary signage relative to Covid-19.”
“We had to do the one-way flow of traffic in here,” added Simpson. “We had the proposed guidelines we were prepping for, and then just a couple of days before, they (state) released what the actual ones (guidelines) were, which were different. So there was a lot of scrambling around and trying to get ready for the unknown so that when the trigger was pulled, we could get right on it. But we were kind of jockeying back and forth with what we needed to do.”
“The process here isn’t really difficult for members,” assured Curry. “We don’t get packed in here so we don’t have to take reservations to use the gym, because we can keep our six-foot social distancing. We do take reservations though for classes because we don’t put more than 10 people in. And so we have marks on the floor where people can set up a yoga mat or a bike. And then after each class, we do the mister which puts down a layer of Covid-killing disinfectant.”
While Brian concentrated on applying for stimulus loans, Shari was busy concentrating on “what we could bring to the members at home: she said adding, “We recorded classes and gave them to our members for free on YouTube. We did quite a few classes and a variety. We got a lot of feedback saying, ‘Natalie’s yoga class really saved me.’”
“People, it was all of a sudden, they couldn’t go to the gym: It’s part of their life,” said Brian.
“It’s physical and mental health,” noted Shari.
Curry pointed out that the gym experience is a social one, and one that, now thankfully, people can once again enjoy.
“People want to come back to the gym,” he concluded. “They’re upbeat, optimistic. They want to stay healthy.”