CrossFit TakeBack: Re-energizing a Gym with an SBA Microloan and More

Laurie Arias, co-owner and coach at CrossFit TakeBack

“I knew this space was where we wanted to be, but it needed work to make it better,” says Laurie Arias, co-owner and coach at CrossFit TakeBack, about the new location for the gym that she co-owns with Michael Villanueva in Middletown, NY.

Here’s how an SBA Microloan and Pursuit’s Business Advisory Services have helped Laurie to make the improvements she envisioned and revitalized the team’s commitment to their business and community.

A fitness business based on compassion and support

“I’d always been active, but then I had four children, so fitness took a backseat,” Laurie explains about her motivation to launch CrossFit TakeBack in 2017. “I needed to reprioritize health to be the best version of myself for my family and that inspired me to help others take back their health, too.”

At her gym, the coaches focus on people who want to improve their health but who also may be new or lapsed in regard to fitness, in general, and CrossFit more specifically.

“Many gyms cater to people who’ve already achieved a level of fitness,” Laurie explains. “We see our niche as the place that takes the intimidation out of fitness. A lot of members really need our help and we set high expectations for our coaches and staff to deliver an experience that’s fitness-focused, but also personalized and compassionate with no judgement or pressure.” Today, CrossFit TakeBack has about 110 members, operating at pre-pandemic levels.

A location change brings new opportunities

Since opening her gym almost seven years ago, Laurie’s philosophy for business ownership was simple: As long as she enjoyed it and felt that they were making a positive difference, then she’d continue. This approach also influenced her financial investment in the business – until recently, it was entirely self-funded.

“Especially during the early months of the pandemic when things were so uncertain for gyms, it felt like a relief to know that if we had to wind down the business we could, because we didn’t owe anything. But now I realize how limiting that mindset was,” Laurie admits.

A necessary location change made her reconsider financing.

“We were in the same location for years,” Laurie says, “and although there were shortcomings there, it worked for us. Also, during the pandemic, the landlord was really generous and flexible, which helped a lot. But then new owners took over and we had to find a new location.”

From the moment she found their current building in downtown Middletown, she knew it was the right space, but that it needed work to bring it to its full potential.

Laurie says, “Like our last space, this current location had no showers, which is a major drawback for a gym. When we secured the new space, we wanted to offer that for our members, so that’s what motivated me to find funding.”

An SBA Microloan from Pursuit

Laurie used the SBA Lender Match tool to find small business lenders around her area. After submitting the information online, Laurie explains, “I received a lot of auto-generated emails from various lenders, but Pursuit was the only lender that personally reached out.”

Pursuit Vice President Carol O’Connell contacted Laurie to talk about her financing needs and review options available for CrossFit TakeBack.

“When we learned that we had to move from the other location, I was on the brink of letting all of this go,” Laurie admits. “But everything fell into place once Carol reached out. She helped us understand Pursuit’s loan options and helped me get more realistic about our financing needs. She walked us through the process and made it so easy. Honestly, if Carol hadn’t reached out, I’m not sure our business would exist today.”

They were approved for an SBA Microloan and, with funds in hand, they added shower facilities, additional equipment, and other significant improvements. Looking ahead, the team’s goals include further optimizing the space, including offering more classes tailored to the needs of older adults and deconditioned athletes.

Pursuit’s Business Advisory Services adds more than financing

“The help that Carol and Pursuit gave us didn’t stop with the financing,” Laurie says. “She came to us and asked how Pursuit could help even more, including offering services through the Business Advisory Services.” With this service, available at no cost to Pursuit’s SBA Microloan recipients, the CrossFit TakeBack team is receiving financial-management and marketing assistance to further strengthen their foundation and build their brand.

Working together to help strengthen small businesses is central to Pursuit’s mission and goals. As Carol says, “Laurie’s dedication to her company’s mission and enthusiasm for learning how to improve her business is an inspiration to me as a business advisor.”

Pursuit has financing and more to help you achieve your goals

“Working with Pursuit has been a game-changer,” Laurie says. “This has re-energized our commitment to the business and our members and we’re excited to support downtown Middletown’s revitalization, too, through upcoming volunteer projects and community classes.”

Pursuit offers more than 15 loans and a line of credit for small businesses throughout New YorkNew JerseyPennsylvania, and Connecticut. Explore our financing options, then contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

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