In the beginning,Matt Holland and Kyle Davis of Northwest Fitness Project had a mission to do more than simply offer high-quality and effective fitness services—they wanted to use fitness to bring people together. This means they chose to embrace the transformative power of fitness to support individuals as they change, not only physically, but also mentally.Their focus on community has helped Northwest Fitness Project follow the lead of Starbucks founder Howard Schultz in becoming a “third place” that people feel at home at beyond work and home.
“For some people, that’s the coffee shop or church or a bar, but for many of us, that third place is where we workout. It’s where they come into the gym, where they decompress and release stress, it’s where they see others striving, it’s where they connect with community, where they feel empowered and where they can be seen as themselves, which helps lift them to a higher idea land I think that’s incredibly important.” -Kyle Davis
Both Kyle Davis and Matt Holland had been working as trainers for over a decade before deciding to take the leap into launching their own fitness businesses. They had been working in the same spaces, attending all the same conferences, reading the same books, and—as they would quickly learn—developing the same models.Combining forces to build a better fitness business with an elevated mindset seemed like the right next step.
Their previous industry experience showed Kyle and Matt what most independent training studios lacked:culture and the steady drive to be 1% better every day. They knew that they could offer people a better option—a top-quality gym with owners who truly cared.
“We also saw a lot of independent training studios be kind of bottom of the barrel, where the owner was really checked out and didn’t really care about the space or the experience of those who came to it. We wanted to create a space that is open, bright, welcoming, with professionalism as its highest ideal.” -Kyle Davis
Since launching, Northwest Fitness Project has offered members a variety of fitness modalities, hands-on training, as well as flexibility, and customized services from independent fitness experts. Kyle and Matt work closely with some of the most experienced independent trainers in the Seattle area to improve the client journey as well as creating an environment where all the trainers can learn from each other,making sure they are at the highest caliber because Kyle and Matt know that their community deserves no less.
With trainers in almost every specialized niche and flexible personal training and programming that’s unique,Northwest Fitness Project has certainly managed to give their members what they need, want, and deserve.
Starting this amazing business wasn’t quick or easy, however. It took Kyle and Matt almost two full years to launch their business. They spent that time connecting with the best trainers in the city, planning and saving, and it quickly paid off. Only one month after opening their doors, Northwest Fitness Project was completely in the black.Members were waiting to get started and independent trainers were lining up to use the space.
While having a successful launch was a big win, not all challenges they faced could have been anticipated. The media maelstrom and blow back resulting from banning the leader of a White Supremacist movement from their gym is not something any business owner plans for."
NW Fitness Project rejects hate speech in all forms, and the violent ethnic cleansing, anti-Semitism and racist ideology that he espouses and advocates for are antithetical to our fundamental beliefs,” said Davis in a press statement.
This White Supremacist leader subsequently rallied his followers to leave a plethora of 1-star Google reviews for NW Fitness Project, something that could have really destroyed the social proof for a local business. Their community fought back, however, submitting 150 5-star reviews within 24 hours to show other locals how wonderful NW Fitness Project (and its owners!) really were. Google, Yelp, and Facebook fortunately also responded quickly to remove the negative ratings. Despite this intensely stressful situation, NWFP's community only became more tightly knit after this, because they knew how passionately the owners were willing to defend the rights of everyone in the gym to have a safe and welcoming place to train.
And when Covid-19 hit,there were even more obstacles to overcome. When NW Fitness Project had to close their doors, they had to get creative to keep their clients fit through the quarantine. They changed their small group training classes over to Zoom classes and learned video editing in a hurry to get on-demand content set up on their website. They also set up a lending program with their dumbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands to ensure the best programming available for their community working out from home.
"The decades of experience that we bring to our programming at NWFP has allowed us to offer something unique: at-home workouts with minimal equipment that will challenge you and never feel repetitive, all in a supportive community environment." - Matt Holland
When considering softwaresolutions for the studio, Kyle noticed that most companies either knew a lotabout the fitness aspect or a lot about software, which means that no solutionwas built quite right to meet the needs of his business. fitDEGREE managed tomeet their requirements in a way no other software has.
“I’ve felt more heard and my needs understood by fitDEGREE thanpretty much any CRM software that I’ve encountered in the fitness industry.”-Kyle Davis
Through listening and being easily accessible, fitDEGREE has also managed to serve and help with addressing and resolving issues. Unlike most other software companies, they have gone the extra mile to find solutions to even the most complex challenges.
“As we’ve found new challenges, fitDEGREE has stepped up at every turn to help us meet those challenges or figure out how to get to that next level.” -Kyle Davis
The owners of NW Fitness Project love that members are able to understand studio offerings, receive alerts and messages directly, and they can easily see and handle client accounts. In addition to the accessibility and assistance fitDEGREE offers, reasonable pricing and the simple user experience made that software a no-brainer for the NW Fitness Project team.
Going forward, Kyle and Matt are looking to focus on growth for their team and location. They’d like to continue to invest in the professional growth of their team and despite big changes fromCovid-19, they’re positioning themselves to open another location.
“Even if we hit a speed bump, I have faith that because of that rapport we have with fitDEGREE and their high level of customer service, thatwe’ll be able to not just clear those hurdles, but be better on the other side.” -Kyle Davis