After nearly a decade in business, brothers Mitchell and Matt Benvie decided to close the doors to Evolve Fitness, a gym in Halifax’s North End community.
They’re one of many small businesses in Canada that have either had to lay off staff, issue pay cuts or outright close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But before finally locking the doors, the owners told each client to take home one of their dumbbells. After all, just because the economy was feeling sluggish didn’t mean gym members should have to feel the same. That idea quickly evolved into their 21-day fitness challenge.
The program works on a donation basis with a minimum $5 entry. That fee gets you access to their various online workouts recorded via Zoom. All of the proceeds are then spent on gift cards to support other shops and services in Halifax once business returns to normal. The gift cards are then handed out as prizes to participants over the three weeks.
For Benvie, many of his clients are business owners themselves and have supported Evolve since day one. This is his way of paying it forward.
“I know so many people that are affected, like completely shut down without even the option of doing something we’re able to do,” Mitchell told HuffPost Canada. “I feel pretty fortunate with the online training option and everybody’s home and everybody wants to stay fit. But it’s hard for different types of business.”
To see how much they’re raised so far, check out the video above.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misspelled Mitchell and Matt Benvie’s last name. The story has since been updated.