A crossfit and adult gymnastics club was started up in September 2006 which used the facilities that belonged to a city run gymnastics program. They got kicked out and were homeless and training outside for 9 months before finally finding a small space to train in. It was FIVE HUNDRED SQUARE FEET!!! True, they put out mats and tumbled outside but still! That is the tiniest gym I’ve ever heard of.
After 9 months of searching, all while continuing to train a dedicated group of people who were apparently going to follow anywhere, a small warehouse with a sufficient ceiling was found. The owner of 400 Tamal Plaza in Corte Madera reluctantly agreed to allow the use of the a studio’s 500 square foot storage room as a fitness facility. This occurred in September of 2008.
This 500 square feet now had to house a CrossFit program, gymnastics program and parkour program. Parallel bars, a pommel horse and a squat rack were crammed into the space. A small area was left open for lifting and the outdoors is always available. If you know the program now, picture this. An adult gymnastics class with 8 individuals and a CrossFit class with 8 individuals all training in the space under the mezannene (sic) that houses Roger’s office. Panel mats were laid out in the parking lot for tumbling, at night, in the winter, with no building lighting. Training was done by the light of a small construction lamp that Andres happened to have. In spite of the ridiculous situation the program continued to grow. After a few months of talks the program was allowed to expand into the smaller of two studios in the building. The gym now encompassed about 2,300 square feet, but was not allowed to do any remodeling. This is how 2009 began.
The gym continued to expand over time and was 11,500 square feet as of 2013. Many clubs start small and get bigger. I’ve heard of clubs starting in someone else’s gym, then moving to their own. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a club having to be run out of a 500 square foot space.
It just goes to show, just like with any other business, it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money to start a gymnastics club. Yeah, a lot of coaches wish they could build a huge club from the ground up and many do. However, starting with a smaller space and growing bigger is also a tried and true method of starting a gym.