During the pandemic, Karina and Lani Bangay - like many small business owners around the world - knew they had to pivot.
At the time, they had renovated their 6,700 square-foot gym, Country Strong Fitness in Palo Cedro, CA. It included 2,000 square feet of open space with a full kitchen.
One of the core values the Bangays had always recognized was the importance of getting kids to move more. And when they put all these pieces together, the result was Country Strong Learning Center. It opened in September 2021 and today is home to 60 homeschooled students.
The Country Strong Learning Center:
The learning center gives homeschooled students a place to do their schoolwork while supervised by a staff that includes trained teachers. Throughout the day, children participate in workouts to get them moving and give them a break from schoolwork.
“They bring their homeschool curriculum here,” Karina explained. “And teachers and staff are there to facilitate their main subjects: Math, language arts and reading. And they do multiple workouts a day.”
The cost for parents depends on how many days a week their children attend the Country Strong Learning Center. On average, parents pay between $450 and $550 per month, generating substantial revenue for the gym.
How PushPress Helped.
The Bangays agreed that making the learning center a reality was faster and more seamless than they expected. They attribute some of that process to PushPress.
Because Country Strong Fitness already used PushPress software for the gym’s billing, the system was already set up. All Karina and Lani had to do was create new membership options for the learning center.
“Everything we needed was already built in and it was easy to customize contracts,” Lani said.
Further, it was easy to set up sub-accounts for children and generate landing pages for the learning center. Both options already existed in the software for gyms.
Pro Tip: Want to learn how PushPress can help your gym with everything from billing to lead follow-up? Book a demo with our team today to find out more!
Using Grow For Growth.
In addition to billing needs, the Bangays also leaned on PushPress Grow for communicating with parents. Karina noted that when you're running a program for kids, communication with parents is especially important. So the couple leans on Grow to make it easy.
Grow is a gym CRM for generating and converting new leads.
“It is so easy for us to send out anything we need to send to parents,” Karina said.
She added that there are several other similar programs in their area. Parents who have tried the other programs have told the Bangays that their communication is second-to-none.
“The feedback is, ‘You guys are so dialed in and organized,’” she said. “They’re shocked by the level of communication they are receiving. We look good compared to other programs, even compared to public schools.”
Enquiries are constantly coming in for the Country Strong Learning Center, so Grow’s workflows have made everything seamless. The workflows are automated, saving Karina and Lani time, and converting leads into paying members.
Lani commented that the chat window function has been particularly useful. And that today, 50 percent of the learning center’s leads come in through chat.
As a result, the Country Strong Learning Center is at capacity, with a waiting list to join.
Making An Impact For Future Generations:
Making the pivot to create the learning center not only saved Country Strong Fitness during the pandemic, but allowed the business to flourish. Had the Bangays continued on the path they were on, they don’t believe the gym would’ve survived.
Further, the learning center solved a problem they’d always struggled with: Generating revenue with gym space during quiet hours of the day.
And most importantly, they’re making an impact for future generations. They’re helping kids, ages of 6-17, develop a love for fitness and healthy living.
“We ran a seven-day challenge in December of all times,” Karina said. “No sugar, and the kids went wild for it. The level of seriousness that they took it was really (amazing) so it has been really special to see that level of motivation.”
The experience in the last 18 months has really made her realize the importance of helping kids develop healthy habits. She commented that it’s just that much easier to help them develop these habits at a young age.
“You have to start with the kids,” she added. “It’s the pinnacle of where health begins. This is how we’re going to change the trajectory in the U.S. when it comes to diabetes and obesity.”
Advice For Other Gym Owners:
When asked about the advice they’d give to other gym owners, the Bangays suggested being open to other possibilities.
“Gym ownership is gnarly,” Lani explained. “For starters, the average person thinks $40 a month is what a gym membership should cost. So asking them for four to five times this amount is already a tough game to play.”
Karina and Lani have also learned an important lesson from the learning center: Parents are way more willing to spend money on their kids than themselves.
“There’s no comparison. They want their kids to learn here,” Lani said. “And they’re willing to pay for it. No questions asked.”
Lani further added that as a gym owner, “Things are often stacked against you. But if you do decide to pivot and add a layer to your business, you might start seeing some easier wins that will give you some breathing room.”
Be open to the possibilities and focus on making an impact. The revenue will flow from there.