It’s March Madness at PushPress! We’ve asked our community of fitness business owners to share their craziest stories. With every story comes a lesson that the gym owner learned the hard way so that you don’t have to. Today, we’re talking about managing a crazy gym event, so sit back, relax and enjoy the shenanigans!
Moving into a new gym space is an exciting time for you and your community. Even though there’s a lot of planning and elbow grease involved, it feels rewarding and motivational.
You might choose to host a gym presale for your new location or plan a celebratory event. And since there’s no such thing as a perfect event, you’ll expect some hiccups.
But Aimee Moller, owner of Swift River CrossFit in Conway, NH, learned first-hand what happens when an event goes completely off the rails.
Moller was moving on up from a small, 1,500-square-foot location to a new, fancier, 3,000-square-foot facility.
She decided to kick things off with a fundraiser called The 502. The workout was in honor of Sgt. James Noyes, who was killed in the line of duty in 1994. Noyes was a local hero and member of the New Hampshire State Police SWAT team.
Moller and her husband Paul were both active-duty police officers at the time. Paul worked with Sgt. Noyes’ son Nate, who was now a trooper, too. Nate had created The 502 workout to honor the memory of his father.
Today, it’s a WOD that every recruit class at the police academy goes through, and has become an annual gym event at Swift River CrossFit.
“We decided to bring it into our community because Sergeant Noyes touched so many lives here,” Moller said.
Moller explained that Sgt. Noyes was from the same area as the gym and was very involved in the community. So The 502 felt like a perfect fundraising workout in the new space. She was also thrilled that the entire New Hampshire Police SWAT team was participating in the event.
The Moment Her Gym Event Went Sideways.
Just as Moller was about to brief the workout, disaster struck. One of the toilets was clogged and was overflowing into the gym.
She stayed calm but acted quickly.
“We quickly turned the water off and blocked off that half of the gym,” Moller remembered.
She managed to recruit a plumber from down the street to check out the mess. As it turns out, the building had previously been home to a brewery and there were hops in the sewer line. So the plumber tried to flush them out, but to no avail. A 400-foot snake was needed to clear the pipes completely.
“Unfortunately, the bigger problem was our sewer line from the building ran about five hundred feet into the street, and the pipe had several sags in it,” Moller said.
The plumbing problem actually ran a lot deeper than the simple clogged toilets. Eventually, she had to completely replace the entire pipe.
On the day of the gym event though, Moller recalls that people were generously forgiving. The police men and women had a good sense of humor about it and razzed each other about who got to plunge the toilet. In the end, the event carried on as planned.
Pro Tip: Hosting an upcoming event at your gym? Use PushPress Grow to spread the word to members quickly and easily! Book a demo with our team today to find out more.
The Lessons Learned.
For other gym owners who might find themselves in an inopportune situation, Moller has some tips:
1. Control The Chaos.
In the moment, “Stay calm,” she says. “As long as you’re calm, everyone else is calm. Identify what you can control and put plans in motion quickly.”
2. Ask An Abundance Of Questions.
On a bigger-picture scale, do your due diligence before moving into a new gym location or hosting a gym event. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy the space, ask questions. Then ask more questions. Your goal is to find out as much about your potential new space as possible.
3. Talk To Neighbors.
Take the time to talk to anyone who you’ll be sharing the building with. Explain the nuances of your gym, such as running routes, dropping barbells or loud music. Be upfront about what will happen in your space to make sure there are no objections. This will save you from undue stress later on.
4. Hire An Inspector.
Even though an inspector may not have discovered the problem at Moller’s gym, she recommends hiring a professional to check out your space. Even if you’re renting, having an inspection will give you peace of mind and potentially save you from liability.
In Summary: A Gym Event That’s Memorable For The Right Reasons.
Hosting a gym event is supposed to be a fun way to connect your gym members and the greater community. But when unexpected things threaten to throw a wrench in your plans, stay calm. Do your best to anticipate any hiccups prior to the event and how you’ll manage them. And when things go sideways - as they sometimes do - control the chaos, call on your community for help and do your best.