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The City that Saved a Gym

New words we never thought we would use...pandemic, quarantine, social distancing, essential businesses... these are now a part of our regular vocabulary. As a virus we could not fully understand swept over our nation, one thing became soberingly clear: our social and economic climate was changing rapidly, and in some pretty frightening ways.

The "experts" had very few answers, and those answers seemed to change almost daily. The authorities felt compelled to do "something" about all of this. Were the next steps motivated by fear? Political gain? Real knowledge? A wild guess? Who knows? But all the same, the closures came, and GAR North was not spared from the impact.

Mid March, we locked the doors and went home. Some 600 or so gyms in America also closed their doors... for the very last time. We wondered if we would be joining their ranks.

Ten weeks of sleepless nights would follow. Would we be able to re-open? What will we all do if we can't? Determined to do the right thing for our customers, we announced that everyone's payment would be stopped going into April and promised 1/2 tuition on the first month of return to make up for the 2 weeks missed.

We prayed that would be enough for the GAR North families we loved so much.

We prayed there wouldn't be too many demanding refunds that we could not afford.

There were NONE.

But then the story gets even better...

Our email was answered by many other emails... and phone calls.

"Hi there! Please leave our payment on."

"Please keep charging us. We have kept our jobs and want to keep supporting."

"When we said we would buy and support local small businesses, we meant YOU too."

"We just want to do all we can to make sure you guys are able to re-open when it is time."

We were blown away! Who are these people? And who are WE, that we get to serve such a wonderful community? A community fighting for our little gym. And it was enough. Our utilities stayed on, our bills were kept up, and we re-opened for classes and camps the first week of June. The return was overwhelming as families came flooding back. People were patient with us as we were learning to navigate through new guidelines and find a balance between normalcy and higher standards of health and safety. When you spoke kind words about us, you spoke them loudly and publicly, and when you had concerns to express, you did so articulately, calmly, and privately. You didn't blast us on social media or make a physical or digital scene. You showed genuine compassion, and for that we are eternally grateful.

There are a lot of lessons that we have learned through all of this, but none ring truer than this statement: The wonderful families of the state-line area are truly a cut above, and it is a joy and a privilege to serve you all.

Do you have a GAR North story to tell? Send it to us at and we would love to share it.

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