(Video from Straight Blast Gym’s Indiegogo page)
Being in business isn’t easy anywhere. You take a chance, hope you’re offering something people want and need, in a place where they want it, need it, and will spend money for it, and then you take the leap.
Sonia Sillan knows how that goes. She and partner Jei took the leap two years ago with a big empty building in North Delridge. They put everything into it, even lived there when they opened in October 2012, found places to shower off-site, ate cheap pizza almost every night. Six months later, things weren’t going well – yet – they parted ways with a business partner and rebranded last year as Straight Blast Gym of Seattle (WSB sponsor). That’s when, Sonia says, things took a turn for the better. They started to grow, started to really fix up the building, added walls, equipment, a heater, a kids-after-school room, a gym-specific van for tournaments and their before/after school program … Now, they need to do more. And they’re looking to do it as a community partnership – mat expansions, showers, bathroom remodels (Sonia says the women’s restroom hadn’t been used in at least a decade when they moved in).
We feel that we are close to being the change that needs to happen in this neighborhood; however, we are not quite there. Most gyms are just a place where you go to sweat; our goal is to become a community center where adults and children thrive through various programs and activities.
To get this done, they’re crowdfunding. This week, Straight Blast Gym launched an Indiegogo campaign, and they’re already a third of the way to their goal. And they’re stressing that this isn’t just a request for contributions – they’ve come up with a list of perks, traditional to crowdfunding campaigns, to give back.
As explained on the campaign page, the projects they’re hoping to get funded are broken into three parts:
SPACE: $6,100 toward new mats and a platform extension
VISIBILITY: $8,400 toward new glass and insulation for the storefront, so it’ll be clear (literally!) when they’re open
EQUIPMENT: $5,840, with resulting expansion in programs including Warrior Woman and Growing Gorillas (kids)
They’re offering perks equal in some cases to discounted services, such as three private lessons for a $200 contribution (worth $300), and also ways to help the community even before the upgrades – a $1,500 donation sponsors a child through SBG-Seattle programs for a year. “We really want to make this about the community,” says Sonia.