Chris Polanco, co-owner and Vice-President of FIRE Fitness Camp joined the team in the year 2018 and things have grown quickly from then. He is dedicated to supporting the franchisees’ success and has been most instrumental to the company’s growth. He shares that the process of signing up is very simple and straight forward. Just fill-out an application form including a few short essay questions to explain why FIRE and why YOU. After that, a thorough background check is done by their team to decide if the person is the right fit. FIRE Fitness Camp also offers robust and ongoing support to its joining partners. They have a standard operative manual that helps their partners deliver the exact service anywhere else around the globe and their top-notch technical support goes way beyond emails and webinars. They take the certifications and training of their owners, coaches and managerial team very seriously and regularly put up content to help them be better at their jobs. At the time, they have 500 how-to-do videos which are produced in-house to help their new team members.
This was all before the global coronavirus pandemic that forced all gyms to shut down across the world. “None of us are ever as prepared as we think we are. In business, or in life in general,” says Hans. “I think I speak for many by saying, when the first cases of COVID-19 were covered in China, we thought, “Well, that won’t really happen here.” But it did.” As COVID-19 continues to batter businesses Hans was faced with a challenging question: Now what? Hans shares incidences of many of their members reaching out to them voicing their concern over closing doors. They shared intimate details of emotional distress, anxiety, and depression they suffered due to the quarantine period. “We listened,” notes Hans.
Having to think for one gym would have been easy. But that wasn’t the case, FIRE Fitness Camp has over twenty franchisees to care for. “There are about one-hundred and fifty employees, contractors, coaches, and owners who have families to feed and rent to pay under our program. They matter to me too!” exclaims Hans. All factors like ‘what are their conditions and health climate’ or ‘what are the numbers like in their geographical region’ had to be considered before opening up. “The most difficult challenge for us as a business has been navigating the ever-changing mandates made by the government. We understand they didn’t get a how-to video or a blueprint on handling COVID either,” says Hans. “This pandemic is serious. So are our program and the people that have been urging us to stay open for their health and wellness. Our attitude has been, exercise is essential to the well-being of humanity. However, we still wanted to work with state and local officials without being negligent.” FIRE Fitness Camp, therefore, took profound precautions when opening that included: mandatory daily self-screening, implementing sanitation stations at all of their exercise sections, encouraging clients to sanitize the equipment surfaces BEFORE entering a section not after (as no one cleans well when leaving stresses Hans), increasing their volume on disinfecting not just the gym area but the entrances, restrooms, and offices. They went on to close down the lobby areas to limit gatherings. The coaches were asked to instruct from a safe social distance “coaching box” while members stood in clearly marked designated areas. “We even altered our normal routine in a way that cuts down on the number of touches,” shares Hans. “We are proud of the job we have done to keep our clients healthy and that will always be #1 for us.” Another result of taking all these precautions is that FIRE Fitness Camp started getting a huge influx of business. “We have many camps that have focussed more and smaller group and personal training. Some of our franchisees have even broken their own lifetime sales records!” cheers Hans. “It’s working.”