The Story of the Gym
It's been a long journey that has gotten us to operating our own Strength and Conditioning Facility specifically designed for field sports, and we're excited to continue on this adventure with all of you!
RenFitness started with Ren Caldwell, a strength and conditioning coach who grew up around the ultimate community and wanted to help athletes play without pain and perform their best.
She worked with elite level Seattle pro, club and college teams and a couple high schools, wrote articles for Skyd Magazine about training for ultimate, posted videos on YouTube, and traveled to coach clinics in other parts of the world.
It wasn’t until she met and started working with Kira Morin that she realized that the greater ultimate community, including the thousands of people that play league and less competitive club ultimate, would be interested in what she had to teach. She started offering RenFit classes (sport-specific lifting and metabolic conditioning) to groups of friends and league teams that wanted to train together - these programs grew from one class of four people to 6 classes of 6-8 people in 6 months!
And so it happened - we outgrew our house! We wanted to do much more with athletes, and wanted to offer them different training opportunities and more flexibility in when they trained and how they interacted with us. We saw so much potential in opening our own space, but we knew it had to be the right space and meet all our criteria, which wasn’t easy to find.
We looked for a year! During that time we grew our programming, developed a business plan with the help of Kira (who came on as business manager) and started engaging the ultimate community through surveys and outreach to learn more about what they wanted in a gym. We really started feeling cramped at our current location - the ceiling was quite literally too low, and we started to worry that we wouldn’t be able to find the kind of space that we felt would best engage and support our community.
And then we found a space!! After months of searching we suddenly had to flip into high gear to secure it. It was so perfect for what we wanted - centrally located, high ceilings, very few columns to get in the way of a huge piece of turf, tons of skylights, lots of street parking and even a parking lot we could use, on many major bus lines and totally bikeable.
We knew this was the place, but oh my god was it expensive! Even though the price per square foot was very reasonable compared other places we’d seen, it was still 6000SF - we ended up looking at a monthly base rent of over 9K. It was terrifying, but our business plan supported it, and we found investors to help us with some startup costs and some cash reserves (SO many thanks to Dan, Michael, Tim and Oliver!!).
And then you, our community, pitched into our Indiegogo campaign and helped us raise over 20K to help us with equipment for the space!! The equipment alone cost upwards of 35K (the turf was 15K), so we were still struggling, but we managed. The Seattle ultimate community came through in a big way at the end of December - mopping floors, laying turf, donating furniture, putting squat racks together, all in under a week! We never could’ve done it without you.