PUEBLO — The owner of Eagleridge Fitness Center in Pueblo is worried about the future, but he is doing what he can to get by.
Trainer Sean MacIndoe bought the gym off Eagleridge and I-25 less than a year ago and starting his own business was a huge deal.
“It’s exciting, challenging, terrifying all wrapped up in one,” he said.
And like most businesses pre-pandemic, things were going great. “Our average daily attendance on like a busy day would be like 380 to 400 people and on a slower day it might be 240 to 250 somewhere around there,” MacIndoe said.
But then the pandemic happened, forcing him to close, lay off his six employees, freeze all memberships and worry about a lot of unknowns.
“My heart sank at first as you can imagine,” MacIndoe said. ”It’s been a huge burden to have to bear. I mean literally, overnight our income dropped down to zero.”
He did not apply for the federal Payroll Protection Program because most of his money is spent on overhead, so he applied for and received the Economic Impact Disaster Loan. He also went straight to his bank and landlord to see what could be done to help him through this hardship.
“The only thing that’s really kept me going is my bank has only charged me interest-only payments the last three months and my landlord has decreased my rent by 50%,” MacIndoe said.
For six weeks the gym sat empty, but now they’re able to offer personnal training sessions by appointment to get some cash flow going.
He said they can only have four clients in the gym at a time, they social distance, wear masks and use a lot of cleaner.
“No equipment can be shared among clients. Everything must be thoroughly disinfected each use,” MacIndoe said. “It’s definitely helpful because it does provide us some income, so we’ll definitely be able to limp along another month or two if we have to at this rate.”
The clients that are coming were pumped to get back to their happy place.
“I was so excited just to come in and work out like I normally do. And kind of get, not on the same routine but similar,” Tori Ortiz said.
Thing are different and MacIndoe realized some older or immunocompromised members may not come back, but he’s glad they can at least start getting some people in the doors and hopefully get bigger occupancy soon.
“If you told me three or four months ago, 'hey you’re gonna have to lead a business through a pandemic.' I’d say no, you’re kidding! But that’s where we find ourselves,” MacIndoe said.
His suggestion to other business owners during the pandemic and in general are to save, budget and have good relationships with your bank, landlords and others you do business with. That’s what’s helped him so far and may save him in the long run.
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