Douglas Branham and his wife, Sharon, opened BC-Fit in Brushy Creek, Texas—a suburb of Austin—in November of 2020, at the height of the pandemic.
They’d already found the perfect location—an abandoned gas station that was centrally located and had great parking. Douglas and Sharon were each working full-time jobs and raising three children, but they decided they wanted to bring a community-based functional fitness gym to the neighborhood they loved.
“My wife and I are stubborn,” Douglas said, “and even though people were telling us we couldn’t do it, we're entrepreneurs at heart.”
Driven by a love for their community and a desire to connect the people in their neighborhood, Douglas and his wife forged ahead and opened their gym toward the end of 2020.
“We're passionate about living better so we can live longer for our kids and sharing the knowledge we've gained over years. So we decided to stick it out,” he said.
BC-Fit opened their doors with six paying members. They were sure they’d hit 100 members within a few months, so Douglas signed up for separate customer management and programming software systems.
Then Covid cases start to rise in Austin, bringing with them curfew and mask mandates. In February of 2021, just three months after BC-Fit opened, Texas was slammed with one of the worst winter storms in the state’s history. The gym experienced power outages and burst pipes, and by April of 2021 Texas had the second highest Covid rates in the country.
At this point BC-Fit still only had six members, and Douglas realized they needed to cut costs to stay open. He reached out to the software companies they were using for programming and customer relationship management and asked if they could get a break on the price.
“No one really worked with me,” Douglas said, “and I was pretty taken aback by that.”
Then he discovered PushPress.
Douglas was impressed that the software handles memberships, billing, programming, and scheduling, and was grateful that the free version included up to 100 members and two staff members.
The more Douglas used the software, the more he liked it.
“Everyone was so responsive,” he said about the customer support at PushPress, “and they were so helpful. They answered all my questions, and the interface was extremely easy to use.”
Even though BC-Fit was struggling to meet their monthly expenses and attract new members, switching to PushPress helped them hang on to the members they had by offering an exceptional member experience.
“It 100 percent saved us,” Douglas said about the free version of PushPress, “and made it look like we were investing a lot of money in tech.”
Now, almost a year and a half after opening, BC-Fit has moved past struggling to make ends meet. They pay for PushPress, which Douglas said he’s happy to do because he loves the features and the customer service.
Even little things—like easily displaying workouts on the TVs in the gym using an Amazon firestick—made a big difference to Douglas. He loves that PushPress allows BC-Fit to have their own branded app, which members can use to sign up for classes, access the gym’s programming, register for events, and see who else signed up for the class.
“We have a lot of business professionals who travel for work and they can still see the programming for the week and do the workouts in a hotel,” Douglas said.
For Douglas, the free tier was meaningful because it signified that PushPress supports new gyms. It was instrumental in helping BC-Fit grow in those critical early days.
“I've been in the tech space for quite some time,” Douglas said, “and I'm big on vendor relationships and big on partnerships. I think hands down they are definitely one of the better vendors I've ever used.”
Signing on with PushPress for free at first gave BC-Fit the breathing room to try the software and see the value of it.
“They don't push any upgrades,” Douglas said, “and they didn’t treat me any differently than they treat somebody that has 500 members. There's something to be said about that.”
Now, almost a year and a half after opening, Douglas’ favorite part about owning BC-Fit has been connecting with his neighbors.
“PushPress played a big part in us being able to connect,” Douglas said, “and build a stronger community and stronger people in general.”