As the province carefully reboots its economy during the COVID-19 pandemic, some businesses are still left in limbo as to when they can reopen.
An Ottawa therapy gym has found a new revenue stream, offering up their specialized equipment for rent.
At LiquidGym in Bells Corners, co-owner Karen Snyder is in the back of their 8,000 square foot physiotherapy and treatment centre, hauling out an underwater spin bike from a large pool with the help of Dawna Ramsay, one of the few employees that remain.
The centre offers weight conditioning and standard physiotherapy sessions as well as a unique treatment, underwater exercise. There are dozens of treadmills and spin bikes, used for low-impact mobility treatments. The province is allowing some businesses to reopen, the treatment centre is not one of them.
When LiquidGym was forced to close its doors in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no other option then to lay-off their 32 staff members. Forced to re-shift their business, they are now offering virtual physiotherapy sessions, and equipment rental.
“Within two weeks we realized we could not stay closed,” says Snyder. “We knew we had equipment that we could possibly rent out … and we had never done that before, we contacted Ruckify and learning that we could possibly help our members and our patients by getting equipment out to them over this period of time to keep them mobile.”
Outside of LiquidGym, James Porter of Ruckify is with a crew loading spin bikes into their truck, handling the logistics of deliveries.
“It’s how Ruckify is helping small businesses in the community,” says Porter. “We were able to build out their store for them and help them walk through the process of how to make a rental happen and provide their community with LiquidGym’s comfort at home.
One of the deliveries is at the home of 15-year-old Michela Mantler. A synchronized swimmer, she is unable to train with her team in pools, she also has to keep her knee well conditioned. She suffered an injury, and was a regular member at the physiotherapy centre for underwater treatments.
“This is really good cross-training for me,” says Mantler, who wasted no time getting in her backyard pool to test out the spin bike. “This is something I would use to help me get stronger and since it’s not open it’s great to have here.”
Demand for the rental equipment has been high. Snyder says that the rental program has added income back into the business as they grow back to full-revenue.
“It’s a total new revenue stream and we will continue with the stream as many businesses are now adapting, the new-normal is what we are looking at now.”
A creative way to help a business survive. One of many Snyder says that companies will have to look towards as they navigate a post-pandemic world.