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May Flowers -- Reap What You Sow
Five years ago I hosted a group of committed "staff members" (aka, my family and Teri Miller, City Gym's first employee) in the yet-to-be-finished City Gym KC. I had somehow convinced them to join me in my gorilla marketing efforts by passing out CG green water bottles at the Brookside Annual Art Fair all weekend.
I gave them some adult bevies, coached them on the facility offerings and amenities, gave them a catch phrase, "Hey want a water bottle for a gym opening less than one mile from here?," loaded them down with lime green water bottles, stuck them in CG shirts and turned them loose on the crowd. The lively group canvassed the art fair all weekend and gave every single water bottle away.
At the end of the weekend we had accomplished much by planting seeds in our community--having interactions with people who would become our members, sharing conversations with folks who would become our neighbors, being in community with our future community.
That weekend I purchased a painting from a local artist with the word "CITY" in bold, red letters on it. She had drawn inspiration for the painting from some large letters she had purchased after the Big City Furniture store had gone out of business. Our conversation led to her offering to let me buy the letters, which she had at her shop, for $50 a piece. That painting and those letters hang on the walls of City Gym today. It's sort of interesting if you think about it, how we repurposed one building's sign to serve as an anchor art piece in the new City Gym.
And just like that, brick by brick, conversation by conversation, handshake by handshake, water bottle by water bottle, the idea of who City Gym would become began to take shape. City Gym is born of the belief that a gym should be more than a place to workout, it should be a place to belong. Those relationships our framework, that idea our mantra.
I can hardly believe it's been five years. What an INCREDIBLE five years it has been. To everyone who has loved City Gym, thank you--truly, humbly, thank you. For all the relationships that have blossomed into something magnificent, thank you.
Every time I walk through the doors to see sweaty, happy, hardworking people, I pinch myself. Together we have created something bigger than a place to workout, we have created a community, a movement.