Imagine you have just had a great weekend hanging out with friends, you’ve just
finished a beautiful Sunday night dinner and you’re at home catching up on the
couch with your family. Then you switch the television on to see an urgent
announcement from your countries Prime Minister, telling you that your local family
owned business must shut its doors tomorrow at midday.
Then imagine what you think when you realize the impact of that decision and being
directly responsible for the futures of over 50 staff and their families, as well as the
health and fitness of over 2,000 local health club members. What do you do? Where
do you start?
Well that was Carla and I on Sunday 22nd March this year. We had just used the
previous couple of weeks spending thousands of extra dollars we hadn’t accounted
for on cleaning, sanitisation products and staff hours to have our clubs cleaner than
they had ever been. Our staff and members were absolutely outstanding in that
period before the shutdown and had adhered to everything asked of them but it was
all to no avail.
That Sunday night we tried to hide the impact it was going to have from our kids, we
popped them in to bed and then stayed up all night strategizing on exactly how we
were going to lead our little community through this unprecedented time.
We were obviously not looking the best by the time we arrived at work on the
Monday and we were honestly pretty upset and scared. Carla headed up to our
Moonee club and I headed into our Toormina club, as we thought each of us needed
to be present for our staff and members in both places.
That morning was absolutely horrible! How do you explain to your team that they no
longer have work, through no fault of their own and to your members that their
second home has just been taken away from them, again through no fault of their
own. We had tears, we had pensioners with nothing to their name wanting to
continue to pay their memberships, we had confusion, we had stress, we had to get
our brilliant team together and work on a plan immediately.
The very first thing we did was to put everyone’s memberships on hold at midday, as
we didn’t think it was right to be taking money from people if we couldn’t provide a
service for. We emailed our members to tell them the plan, we put a video message
on social media and our website, we changed our voicemail and we started moving
towards developing an online health club. That was all in the first 24 hours after
That first week was a complete blur as we only slept about 15 hours in total but we
did make some progress. I think it was a combination of adrenaline and fear but we
did manage to make about 1% of our regular income back by Friday and 1% was
better than 0%.
Five weeks down the track… We now have a fully fledged online health club
membership that includes daily on demand classes, daily on demand home
workouts, a full video exercise library, health data tracking and social connection via
our app and private youtube channel, so our members can workout when they want
to. The online membership is also now open to non members from the region as
We have invested in keeping some of our team employed throughout this process
and its starting to pay dividends. While other clubs have outsourced interstate or
even overseas contractors to provide their content, our amazing team have been
working tirelessly in the background to not only create our online membership but
also continuing to see their clients virtually through online personal training, online
weight loss coaching, videoing their classes and programming home workouts.
Its critically important during this time that you maintain your routine and social
connection, don’t overeat or eat the wrong foods, train to maintain muscle, bone and
joint strength, as well as protecting your mental health. This is a terribly trying time
for our community financially, physically and psychologically but we have all the tools
to provide education, motivation and results through our online services now.
Everything you need to help you keep (or start) your exercise routine can be found in
the one place via our website www.coffscoasthc.com.au or through our social media
Finally Carla and I would like to say a huge thank you to our terrific team, our
magnificent members and our cracking community for all of your kind words and
actions during this time and with your continued support we will open back up again
soon, bigger and better than ever. We hope to see you soon!