Crossfit Community Strategizes through Covid-19
O2 Blog

Crossfit Community Strategizes through Covid-19

Updated on July 26th, 2021

We first told the story of our COVID-19 relief program in July 2020 with a look back on our award-winning 50/50 gym support campaign and #StayforMay promotion. We now reflect, a year later, on the effort’s long-term success: $230,000 given to gyms, $20 million in incentives offered to gym members, and an overwhelming response from the community.

Businesses had to dig deep in March 2020, and O2 was no exception. Much of our revenue came from wholesaling to gyms, and many of those gyms were forced to shut down. We already had an online sales channel, and we knew gym members could still get O2, but those sales wouldn’t benefit gyms. 

We’re a values-driven company, and we knew supporting our partner gyms was the right thing to do. So, we started giving 50% of our online sales to gyms in March 2020. Then we created a “Community Coalition” with a few partner brands to continue the give-back in April. 

#StayforMay was the next effort, and it was even bigger. Gym members who kept their memberships active in May received a $100 gift card for $25 each at O2 and three other Community Coalition brands. It was a huge success, with nearly 60,000 people opting to keep their memberships active across 1,918 gyms. 

The business community took notice. O2’s founder and CEO, Dave Colina, was on the cover of Entrepreneur Startups Magazine, and #StayforMay was named Best Marketing Campaign of 2020 by BevNet

And we didn’t stop there! We continued with the Fall 50/50 Pledge and a holiday gift card incentive of $200 across 10 Community Coalition brands.

What did the gyms think? Hear directly from them with the stories that were featured in our original July 2020 article:

Derby City CrossFit members build off of each other 

Owner and coach Slater Coe takes his community seriously. Coe and his members were eager to participate when the #StayforMay campaign started. Members enthusiastically spread the code to friends outside of their immediate gym circle. 

“It was the first time I've seen a major CrossFit vendor actually try and help the boxes and not just in some publicity stunt. They were putting real revenue back in our pockets to help us try and weather the storm,” owner Slater Coe said. 

Derby City CrossFit hosted social events every month before the shutdown. “We always say that it’s hard as hell to make friends as an adult,” said Coe. 

This Saturday, they will have their first social event in a parking lot under tents. They will have spacing in place, set up games like corn hole, and have O2s in hand to mitigate the morning after.

Loyalty is valued and reciprocated at CrossFit Scioto 

CrossFit Scioto owner Jason Feinstein had about 36 hours to decide what to do when the gym shutdown was announced.

“I'm a firm believer in situations like this - you give three or four times before you ask for something in return,” Feinstein said.

People volunteered to help out the gym that first month, and the gym continued to push out virtual content. A number of members paid for their memberships through April, even though the gym didn’t require it. 

CrossFit Scioto requested members pay their May memberships. The #StayforMay campaign came at a great time to offset the gym’s request with a gift card. The project also gave the community something fun to chat about!

Feinstein says that their gym is different - it’s not like “transactional” gyms where people come and go, never getting to know each other. Feinstein’s coaches reached out to members daily during quarantine to see how they were doing. Doors are open again, and the first thing that members see is the large refrigerator stocked full of O2. 

“We want to reward the companies that have stuck with us and helped us get through when people didn’t have to pay us.”

CrossFit 740's determination overcomes fear 

CrossFit 740 was fortunate to have supportive members, and nearly all stayed through the shutdown. But in April, owner Dustin Lansing had feared that members would pause their memberships due to the financial stress of the pandemic. 

“I think the #StayforMay initiative gave them a sense of appreciation, like, ‘Hey, we are supporting our gym and it feels good that these companies are acknowledging that and giving us a kickback for doing it,’” Lansing said.

Lansing saw a positive response from members in May, and no one on his team paused their memberships. Lansing was equally committed to rewarding his members’ trust, and he took careful measures to maintain a clean and sanitized environment for each athlete.

This community has continued to stay tight-knit by simply adjusting their normal routines. The gym did a rucksack workout a couple of weeks ago. They hosted a free workout in the park last week with 40 members spread across a huge field. They also plan to do a mountain hike this week and hold their workout at the top.

CrossFit 740 adapts to a new system for their athletes.

Muskegon CrossFit embraces the outdoor gym

Michigan has been one of the strictest states around COVID precautions, and Muskegon CrossFit is still awaiting an opening date after four months of closed doors. Workouts have moved outside, and athletes are battling some unpredictable rains and high winds.

#StayforMay eased the members’ minds as they continued to pay dues for virtual classes. 

The gym has been looking outside the box to keep the momentum going with their members. They hosted an event last weekend called the “Fresh Coast Games,” sponsored by O2. They sported and handed out O2 swag and were stocked with cases of O2 as part of the VIP program. 

“The wholesale program is super cool because they really support the people who support them,” owner Russell Mock said.

Mock’s mother Connie, far right, alongside Robin, far left, and Reed, middle, worked Crossfit Muskegon’s shop all week long. 

CrossFit Delaware Valley stays committed to their tribe

“We were really pinned to the wall at that time,” Owner Rob Miller said when he joined #StayforMay with long-time friend Dave Collina, “We had very few ways to service our customers.”

Appreciation emails appeared in Miller’s email inbox after the gift cards were sent out. Their gym is not trying to be anything glamorous - they have about 200 members who workout in a large, garage-like space. CrossFit DelVal emphasizes people and treating them well. 

“Dave [Colina] is like the human embodiment of that. He's a very giving person and he's willing to take a loss to help somebody out and also to just further the long term," Miller said.

Zoom wasn’t a big hit with their group. Instead, Crossfit DelVal made custom workouts for each member, curated for each member’s individual environment and equipment. Miller was the only one at the gym during the lockdown, ready to lend out equipment until members were back on site. 

Two huge garage doors line one side of the building, opening up the space, and now that classes are back, the gym is getting even more members with the open setup. 

“We’re in it for the long haul,” said Miller. “This is what we do.”

Delaware Valley Coach Jackie jumps right back in to lead her athletes social distance style.