In April, a new group sprung up for fitness enthusiasts in and around Contoocook: the Stormettes. Cindy Glass, owner of Storms Fitness, a Contoocook gym, began live streaming workouts for her clients who were stuck at home, with the help of two personal trainers at the gym, and the group quickly earned the nickname.
“People would either exercise with us or watch us for entertainment. It was kind of silly,” said Glass. While the sessions, streamed on the gym’s Facebook page, were lighthearted, they provided an important way to keep in touch with customers while the gym’s doors were closed. “It was a little gimmick to keep people remember that we were here.”
Glass was hoping that she could weather a short period of being closed and then get back to normal. Since then, she’s realized that was wishful thinking.
“At the time I thought it was only going to be a couple months,” she said. “I did not see that it would continue to be this long of a duration. Now, I can see the writing was on the wall that this would be a little bit longer-term than what any of us anticipated. My eyes are now open, this is what we’re going to have to do.”
Glass reopened the gym in June, but membership is down about 60%. Most people just aren’t comfortable working out indoors, even though Glass has rearranged the gym to give more distance between equipment.
Because of that, Glass has started offering some classes and personal training sessions outdoors. Storms Fitness is located on a 10-acre plot, so she hopes to eventually utilize more of the land to offer outdoor bootcamps and trail runs.
With fewer people coming to the gym, Glass has also reevaluated her hours. The gym used to be open from 5 a.m. till 8 p.m. seven days a week, but that meant having employees to help out. Now, Glass has opted to close the gym for the quiet hours in the middle of the day. Now, the gym is closed daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sundays. While Glass was disappointed to have to cut hours, doing so gives her more flexibility at a time when she’s down to herself and two personal trainers for staff.
“If we were in Concord or a city where business people used us for lunch workouts it wouldn’t work, but being in a little town that was the chunk I could get away with closing,” Glass said. “The individuals who may have liked that time have adjusted their schedules to make it work. It makes it easier for those of us still here to take care of what needs to be taken care of.”
Although most people who have cancelled their memberships have health concerns, a few have cancelled for financial reasons. With the help of a client donation, Storms Fitness has started a community fitness fund, to help make memberships affordable for those who would like to keep coming to the gym, but who have been impacted financially.
Glass hopes that positive projects like that, as well as a smile and sense of humor, can help Storms Fitness get through the pandemic, however long it might last.
“The biggest challenge has been not getting stuck in my own head and not giving up,” she said.
This story is part of the 50 Businesses, 50 Solutions series, shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative, that aims to highlight how business leaders across the state, from mom and pop shops, to large corporations have adapted to meet the challenges and disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus in the hopes others may be able to replicate these ideas and innovations. Tell us your story here. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.