Since its grand opening, the Gilroy Wellness Studio has secured 331 members. Unique in its build, the studio is a standalone group exercise facility of the YMCA of Silicon Valley, located in Gilroy, California.
Prior to its grand opening, the YMCA partnered with Gilroy Unified School District and the City of Gilroy by offering after-school care for children and nutrition services for seniors. By opening the studio, the Y hoped to increase visibility and provide wellness services for an audience it might not have been reaching in previous programs.
“We wanted to provide a wellness studio that serves as a community safe haven for those looking to start a health journey, continue a health journey, or even rehabilitate themselves,” said Tom Nelson, the chief operating officer of the YMCA of Silicon Valley.
The Gilroy Wellness Studio takes pride in not only serving the community, but also in being a safe and welcoming environment for all members. “Our instructors promote inclusivity by modifying classes according to members’ physical capabilities, and ensuring safe and effective motions to improve physical fitness,” said Nelson.
To meet a variety of fitness needs for the community, the studio currently offers a wide array of classes, including Basic Barre, RIPPED, Pi-Yo, Zumba, BODYPUMP, Low Impact Boot Camp, Chisel, Multifit, CX WORX, and Hard Core.
Since the studio was designed only for group exercise classes, one of the challenges it had to overcome was the stigma of being “just another local gym,” according to Nelson. “We had to demonstrate how we differentiate our programs to support our members’ wellbeing, and positively impact the community as a whole,” he said.
Additional challenges for the studio included finding the space capable of holding multiple group exercise classes with equipment, and creating an affordable membership price. “The goal was maximum engagement and efficiency to ensure many years of successful operations,” said Nelson.
Fortunately, with focused efforts and tenacity, the studio was able to overcome these challenges. Nelson described the importance of putting together a dedicated team that, as a result, encouraged the community to become more involved and part of the Y.
“We began with grassroots marketing by putting out flyers throughout the most visited areas of the community,” said Nelson. “Once that gained attention, we used our members’ word of mouth as a primary marketing initiative. Who better to promote our studio than the very people we help?”
Since the studio’s opening, they have made great strides in the Gilroy community and are finding almost all of their classes at maximum capacity. To accommodate the members, they have started offering the most packed classes multiple times on the busiest days.
“While our member numbers grow, our studio space has not,” said Nelson. “Our biggest challenge now is to search for a location that will accommodate all of our members and still allow for growth in the classes and programs we offer.”
Being a growing facility, the Gilroy Wellness Studio plans to keep in mind the key components that launched its success. One of those components is to research and survey the needs of the community. “What programs are already being offered in the community?” asked Nelson. “What is the demand? What can the Y do to fill in the gaps?”
By asking these questions, the studio intends to continue overcoming the label of being just another local gym and instead, plans to use its unique standalone group exercise facility to fit the community’s needs.
“Engaging the community in the needs assessment not only helps the members in your community feel engaged in the process — it also reassures that the Y cares and is invested in improving the health and wellbeing of the community,” said Nelson.