MONROE — After working for her family for several years, Samantha Powers decided this past winter to go into business on her own. Despite the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic, her new venture, Royal Athletics, opened June 1 on Monroe’s west side.
“I was working for my parents at Powers Auction Service, and I thought I needed to do something for me,” Powers said. “I love fitness, so I thought, ‘why don’t I start a gym?’ I opened in January 2020 at Image Boutique next door doing Boot Camp classes.”
Her first class had just four participants. Two weeks later, that number had grown exponentially.
The first two days blew me away. I was hoping we’d get 10 people who were new and we doubled that. Class attendance has been anywhere from 6-20.Samantha Powers, Royal Athletics owner
“I had 60 people at my door. It was something that I thought, ‘OK, I’m growing faster than I thought I would, so I will go and open a gym in June. I’ll just make it work,’” she said.
When COVID-19 forced the state to shut down services dubbed “nonessential,” like fitness gyms, Powers and her clients had to get creative. They met in small groups at outdoor locations like parks, and Powers said her clients stuck to their meal plan and kept seeing results.
“My clients came to me crying when we got shut down (from COVID-19). They said, ‘What are we going to do? We didn’t like fitness before we met you, and now we love it.’ I cried,” Powers said of the initial shutdown. “It broke my heart because we turned these people’s lives around.”
Royal Athletics was able to hold its initial grand opening June 1 anyway, with the state shutdown orders canceled a week prior. “The first two days blew me away. I was hoping we’d get 10 people who were new and we doubled that. Class attendance has been anywhere from 6-20,” she said.
Powers said that with four other established fitness gyms in town, she feels blessed to have the response she’s received. She said the gym is offering memberships on 1-year contracts, as well as personal training and fitness classes that don’t require contracts.
“We try to make it affordable, reasonable and enjoyable,” Powers said. “My passion for the last 15 years has been fitness, and I wanted to bring something new to Monroe that was friendly, and somewhere where people could come to where they felt comfort and nonjudgmental. With bullying being a big thing these days, I just wanted people to feel safe and secure. And we’ve really created that kind of environment here. I really couldn’t be more proud.”
■ Phone: 608-558-6603
■ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
■ Website: royal-athletics.com
■ Where: 128 W. 8th Street, Monroe
■ Fitness Class offerings: Zumba, Yoga, Kettlebell, HIIT, Spin
As far as fighting COVID-19 is concerned, Powers said she’s taken extra precautions.
“We made sure the equipment was 6-feet apart. We made sure there was enough room for classes. We follow what the guidelines are; we are very sanitized and have sanitizer when you walk through the door,” she said, adding that she is a bit fearful of what the fall might bring, given the continued increase in positive COVID-19 cases around the county, state and country. “I’m feeling good. There are some days I question it, and the fall looks scary — the media portrays the fall to look scary — but I survived it once and we’re hopeful we’ll survive it again.”