On March 14th CrossFit Apollo held its last workout before shutting its doors in preparation to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus in Nevada. Owner’s Chad and Monica Cole were dutifully taking steps to protect members of the gym as well as the entire community for what they and other small-business owners were told might be upwards of two weeks. They remained committed to their members and continued to provide equipment and virtual classes and outdoor park workouts, while also reducing membership fees, and continuing to pay their employees, but not themselves. Two weeks became one month, and one month became two months—still there is no definitive date for when they may be reasonably permitted to re-open, or what that might look like for the way they conduct business each day thereafter. In his most recent press conference, Governor Sisolak indicated Nevada will remain in Phase One of his plan for re-opening until at least the end of May. Gyms are not permitted to re-open until Phase 3 or 4, pending further clarification. Gyms promote health--both mental and physical, and health is "essential,", yet they are ordered to stay closed, even though Cannibis dispensaries, fast food restaurants, and nail salons are all open during Phase One.
As the weeks have passed, Chad and Monica have been forced to drain their business savings account of $60,000 just to fund the operational expenses of a shut-down business. Currently they are more than $9,000 in debt to their landlord in building rent alone. Every day they lose an additional $1,000. Because of executive orders requiring gyms to remain closed, the gym has lost close to 70 members, when in a typical month they’d expect to gain 10-12 new members. Chad and Monica reduced the membership cost for their remaining members out of love and respect for the circumstances we are all facing right now, and the unique financial consequences we are each enduring. As you can tell, this is not sustainable.
Chad and Monica met with their employees and together they made the difficult decision to try to re-open the doors to their business May 15th (two months after their original shut-down), against current executive orders requiring gyms to stay closed. They had communicated this goal to their members publicly and welcomed feedback. The outpouring of support and encouragement for this decision was loud and clear. Members of Apollo were eager and ready to come back! New plans were made to re-open with strict six-foot distancing in place, new disinfecting stations, and ample airflow from exterior doors being opened. So Chad and Monica scheduled a date and held an employee meeting to prepare.
To their great surprise and dismay, while in the gym for their employee meeting on May 14th, without being open to the public, they learned someone had notified police of their plans when two detectives arrived and became aggressive and hostile, accusing them of not “caring about the community” in attempting to re-open. Chad and Monica politely refused to say they wouldn’t re-open, so a police lieutenant and captain were called in by the detectives. These officers are in the picture above. Upon their arrival, they informed Chad and Monica they would skip the protocol of first issuing a warning, then issuing a citation, and then revoking their business license. Instead, they threatened that if Chad and Monica proceeded to open the following day, they’d immediately revoke their business license and arrest them.
Apollo has a long history of supporting local law enforcement and first responders. Every year they host the Maltz Challenge which is a fundraising event to raise money for the family of a fallen officer or first responder from the region. The lieutenant that came to threaten and harass Chad and Monica said he has attended these events and liked participating. The event this year was on March 13th and it was the last full day of operation for Apollo before they were shut down.
Chad and Monica have no choice. They cannot protect their ability to support the mental and physical health of their members with the services they provide as gym owners, coaches, and friends. They cannot use their voice to advocate for the gym that provides a sanctuary and a motivator to so many. They cannot protest the damages this closure is having on their own financial health and mental well-being. They can no longer defend their ability to operate a successful business, serve the members of the community, and encourage others in the pursuit of health. Their hands are tied by an illogical, extreme, and detrimental executive order, aggressively and selectively enforced.
Chad and Monica have dedicated their lives to serving others. Members, past and present, know of the love, dedication, and commitment with which they approach their business and each individual who walks through their doors. We can all attest that “at CrossFit Apollo we train incredibly hard; harder than most thought they were capable of. Everyday our athletes break down barriers and set new standards for themselves. Our training is intense, and it creates a bond among our members that can’t be faked or manufactured. Together we sweat, we bleed, we expose weaknesses and we get stronger… together. The community aspect of CrossFit Apollo is our greatest strength. We are supportive, we are competitive, we are strong, we are humble, we are athletes…. We are Apollo.”
“Our community at CrossFit Apollo is diverse; it includes members of our military Special Forces, full-time moms, doctors, lawyers, police officers, fire fighters, business executives, elite athletes, and retired grandparents. Regardless of how you earn an income or your current fitness level, you will benefit from the coaching at CrossFit Apollo.” We are a community, a family, and now more than ever we need to rally. We need to come together in support of the very people who have given us a place to call “home” when we share in the same struggle to advance our fitness, recover from surgery or injury, promote longevity in advancing years, make new friends, build relationships, and so much more. They would never ask us to support them, and that is exactly why we should.
Chad and Monica applied for PPP (the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act) as soon as it was made available and have not had success yet. They are hopeful that it will fund soon. Chad’s wife Courtney is employed as an emergency room nurse, but her hours have been cut at the hospital. Monica is self-reliant, with her only source of income coming from their business. They have not taken a paycheck since March. They are 100% depleted of funds to sustain CrossFit Apollo, much less their own livelihoods. They have done everything possible to keep this community close, keep our bond strong, and keep each of us healthy. They have never quit or failed in this pursuit. We cannot let them fail. We cannot stand by and watch them lose everything when they’ve given us so much. They have gone through every channel, writing letters, filing formal complaints, and now they’re faced with a legal retainer of $7,500 to place an initial filing with the courts. They’ve taken up peaceful, legal courses of action to keep fighting for us. Now we can fight for them. I ask you now to please consider giving whatever you can to help sustain our coaches, our family, our friends. Keep CrossFit Apollo alive!
- William Graham Carter
- Cheree Johnson
- Kevin Kawada
- Patti Thurman
Las Vegas, NV