Ill. Gym Owner Lets Members Check Out $40K Worth of Equipment After Coronavirus Closes His Gym


An Illinois gym owner whose business was shut down due to coronavirus is making sure his clients still get their workouts in by letting them take his equipment home.

Drew Whitted, who owns Be Strong Gym in Bloomington, Illinois, was forced to temporarily close his gym in March after the state was put under a stay-at-home order, he told CNN.

But Whitted knows the importance of staying active even on lockdown, and so he let his members check out tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment for free, with the expectation that the items will be brought back once the gym reopens.

“We don’t want anything left in here,” he said. “If our members can’t come in and train, we want you to take it home and keep training.”

It took just two hours for about 80 Be Strong members to clear out $40,000 worth of equipment, including barbells, weights, exercise bikes, rowers and mats, according to CNN.

“I really encourage members to take things home that they loved, and they knew they were going to use every day,” said Whitted.

While its doors are closed, Be Strong has been hosting online training sessions for clients like Paulette Cocco, who said she’s been enjoying the virtual workouts.

Cocco told CNN she typically works out at Whitted’s gym three or four times a week, and was happy to take home a barbell, weights and a heavy wall ball.

“[Whitted] had recently put in a lot of money into getting new equipment. The gym’s been growing, and we have such a great community,” she said. “I mean, his equipment is really beautiful, so it was a big sacrifice.”

Whitted told the outlet that he’s offering members a free month while Be Strong is closed, but some, like Coco, are still paying their dues in order to help support him and his eight staff members, all of whom he’s vowed to keep paying.

“I see a whole family, getting through this shelter in place, getting through this time doing these workouts together, bonding together, becoming healthier and happier together as a family unit,” Whitted said of how his virtual workouts have brought people together.

As of Wednesday morning, Illinois has seen 23,247 cases and 878 deaths, while the U.S. has had 606,800 cases and 25,922 deaths, the New York Times reported.

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