SAN ANTONIO – Nearly a year into the pandemic all businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 related closures in one way or another.
Gyms, which act as a place where large groups of people gather and share equipment, top the list of places where COVID-19 has the potential to spread.
Ensuring all equipment touched is always clean is now more important than ever.
Gym owners say they’re spending more on cleaning supplies, even buying paper to log the temperature checks, which come as one of many added expenses.
Shawn Phillips owner of Texas Muscle and Fitness near 1604 and Braun Road, says his open 24-hour model has helped his customers feel safe enough to continue to visit the gym.
“We have a consistent flow of folks pretty much all day and into the night,” Philips said.
Philips is optimistic that the pandemic will end, so much so that he opened a second location in Converse. He says clients want a place to decompress.
“A lot of people, believe it or not, just want to come get away from the home, get out, get away from the job, the kids, and come work out and work towards their goal,” Philips said.
One of his survival methods has been sharing his space with other small business owners, he thinks there is safety in numbers.
“At our second location, we have two spaces open that we’re going to look to bring in a massage therapist and bring in maybe a barbershop,” Philips said. “But that’s so everyone’s kind of pulling together.”
Michelle Martinez Ingram owner of Heavy Metal Fitness, says the fact that they have a niche gym has helped them some. But they’ve gotten creative, including starting online merchandise sales.
“People reached out to us from all over the city, and Texas asking, ‘can we help your gym?’,” Ingram said. “We were like, you know what, let’s do this. Let’s get an online store going because every little thing can help. Every shirt, every hat can help us to kind of get back on our feet.”
They have space, so they decided to take their classes outside, “our group fitness classes that are outdoors, three times a week, they’ve literally tripled in size,” Martinez Ingram said.
More customers have also inquired about personal training Martinez Ingram said.
During the closure, the owner lent out the specialized equipment to customers so they could continue their training, and that pays off with loyalty she explains.
Like their customers, who are competitive and passionate, gym owners say they are too, when it means survival.
“We don’t have a plan B or plan C, we know what the plan is and it’s just to keep the gym as successful as possible,” Martinez Ingram said.