Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
Story by Tina Hennigar
The day the COVID-19 restrictions were announced by Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Joel Holland, owner
of 902 Athletics in Bridgewater, received 80 membership cancellations. He was instantly filled with worry – not for himself, but for his staff of 8-coaches. “I had no other choice but to temporarily lay everyone off until we could be back up and running.”
Then he painted the entire gym so it would look nice when everyone returned.
That positive attitude helped him in the early days to come up with a plan. That plan included loaning all his equipment to the members who continued their memberships to help them to create home gyms to stay on track. “Everyone got a program and a personal coach. Our community is so important,” Joel said. “And we lost that temporarily, so we had to work hard to bring that community online,” he said of 902 Athletics’ new virtual community.
Joel’s goal was always to bring back all his staff and to open back up to his members. But opening up at 50% capacity would be tough especially when he still had 100% of the bills. He knows he was fortunate to have even some of his members stick with him, and he was luckier than many other businesses.
“Business owners are going through the most challenging time,” Joel said, “but also, so are our members.” Joel was inspired by his members who continued with their workouts and continued to put a value on their health and wellbeing. “Those are the people who motivated me through COVID!”
The safety of its members has always been a top priority for Joel and his coaches. Now cleanliness is just as much a priority as the safe use of the equipment.
Joel is more committed than ever to supporting local business owners like him. “Going through something like this, it just changes everything,” he said. “We all got to see how quickly we could have lost those businesses and services that we really need. You have to support the people who support you.”