The brick and mortar fitness industry felt shock waves this past week as local governments in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties ordered the mandatory closure of fitness facilities to help flatten the spread of COVID-19.

For weeks, gym owners, managers, and employees were squeezing every last bit of revenue they could before the inevitable happened, and when it finally arrived, many were left wondering how they were going to live to fight another day.

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Studios and gyms quickly took their classes to the virtual world offering a blend of free, donation-based and paid programming that viewers could do at home. This, all in an effort to maintain an engaged membership base, was the low hanging fruit.

Crafty gyms owners across the area quickly jumped on an additional source of recurring revenue, by renting their otherwise dormant equipment to members.

“We noticed some other gyms around the country doing this and thought it would be a great idea to continue to build revenue, but more importantly, to build community,” said Adam Becker, Co-Owner of Brickell’s Society Fitness.

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Known for their incredibly popular HIIT programming featuring the use of accessible equipment for all fitness levels, Becker and the team quickly whipped up a rental program that allowed members to check out dumbbells, kettlebells, battle ropes, medicine balls, bumper plates, and more for a small recurring monthly charge.

“We saw the reaction when people brought the equipment home and started using them,” said Becker. “So, if two dumbbells and a kettlebell bring a smile to our members, and we can make a few bucks to keep the lights on, it’s a win-win.”

For other studios like RedBike, one of the most popular indoor spin studios in Miami, renting equipment might not be an option, so you’d think.

“We just don’t want people to go crazy, and we want to keep the community connected,” said Andreina Baez, Director of Marketing and Instructor at RedBike. “I kept thinking of a way we could kind of give them (members) bikes. The next day we posted and people literally went crazy for bikes.”

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Baez stated that the delivery method has been more challenging than regular gym equipment, since bikes can only be delivered one at a time, but demand is there, with RedBike renting their entire inventory for a monthly fee.

“Everyone has been so grateful, and says they now have something to look forward to every day,” said Baez.

As local and federal governments continue to grapple with the spread of COVID-19, local businesses will need to continue to innovate and invent new ways to drive revenue.

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