To some, this may just look like a green board with some names on it. But to OPC, this is so much more. This represents perseverance. This represents standing up when you have been knocked down. This represents letting nobody….. Absolutely no one dictate your fate. It represents a strong community filled with good people.
June of 2016 things were looking grim at OPC. A sweet, but over leveraged gym stood at the crossroads of greatness and disaster. OPC, over the previous 18 months had grown into a powerhouse in the local crossfit community. With 200 active members, we stood as one of the largest. There were however a few problems: 1. We operated inside of our parent gym at the time and the overhead for the entire building was staggering. 2. The primary owner of our parent company decided that enough was enough and he wanted to stop throwing good money after bad, and who could blame him.
Within 30 days of the investor deciding he wanted out, there were plans to close the doors for good. Jill and I had a huge pile of shit on our hands all of a sudden. This was probably one of the hardest moments in our life, but there was a silver lining. While we were minority owners in the parent company, we were the exclusive owners of Orange Park CrossFit. We took a long hard look in the mirror and quickly realized that there was no choice but to push forward. But the train was rolling already. We had no choice but to close the doors. Going from one of the largest membership bases in town one day to zero members the next is a humbling and terrifying feeling. We did what we had to do though. We could bitch and moan about how the rug had been pulled out from under us, or we could take ownership of a shitty situation and get to work. I’ll save you all the financially frightening details and struggles that followed over the next few months, but I’ll share this. We re-opened in our current location 90 days after we closed the doors to the old location.
We forced no one to come with us. We did what was right and released everyone from their agreements they had with us. We didn’t want anyone to feel forced. After all, I can assume we didn’t look real stable. Well… We weren’t. We re-opened our doors October 12th 2016, 90 days after total catastrophe. When we opened up, you guessed it…. 0 members. Business was as far from booming as you could imagine. We hung a cut olympic lifting platform on the wall behind the front desk to add some branding and color with our signature green. As the first few people signed up and took a chance on us, we asked that they sign the board, pose for a picture and we quickly dubbed it our Founding Members Board. Even though OPC has been around since 2013, this was a fresh start. Our story was broadcasted loud.. Everyone knew what had just happened. Everyone knew, but they still took a chance on us. This green board with a bunch of amazing names on it may seem insignificant to many, but to us its everything. It represents our community.. It represents who we are.. It represents standing the F up when life knocks you down. It says that if you surround yourself with the highest caliber of people, anything is possible. The OPCTribe means everything to Jill and I. They are friends and family and we will always go to great lengths to show our appreciation for believing that the past was just that….
The reason Im writing about our board is because this weekend we will be moving it into the next chapter of our story. We are no longer adding to our Founding Members as we have achieved our first big milestone. This board will forever remain unchanged and sacred as it is being moved to its permanent location in the gym. It will always be visible and will always be there to remind us of how, like a Phoenix, we rose from the ashes to become something special… Something More. Something bigger than Jill and I or even our business. When we rose…. We did so as a unit… We rose with a purpose.. with a vision. We rose as the #OPCTribe.