Last March, the Sister Bay Athletic Club (SBAC) appeared to be another small-business casualty of the pandemic. Previous owner Shannon Mough recalled that it was a difficult decision to close the facility because she knew it filled a need in the Northern Door community.
“I knew we couldn’t maintain it,” she said, “but I also knew how many people relied on that place. When you see members of the community who live here using the space year-round, and then you’re faced with having to close it, that is hard.”
But a silver lining did exist. In this case, it took the form of SBAC members Jean and Jerry Krebs, who purchased the facility in May and announced its reopening later that month.
“For the people who bought it to save it for the community, that’s huge,” Mough said of the new owners.
But the Krebses simply saw it as a need they could fill for their community.
“[We] thought it was a nice facility for northern Door County residents to enjoy,” Jean Krebs said. “We moved up here full time in 2019, and the gym turned out to be a great place to socialize and stay fit.”
When they found out that SBAC’s exercise equipment was going to be sold to a fitness facility in Appleton, the couple decided to buy the gym “as is” for the community to continue to use.
Krebs said they don’t have prior experience owning or running a business, but they aren’t going into the new fitness venture completely green.
“My [previous] career was in science, health and fitness,” she said. “I know that exercise is very important for maintaining your health. If you don’t make time to exercise, you will have to make time for serious illnesses. I’d like to think that the gym encourages more people to get fit.”
SBAC now encourages that focus on fitness with 24/7 hours, 365 days a year. Members get a key fob for access.
“We want it to be easy for everyone to exercise – especially those who may have to work during the afternoon and evening,” Krebs said.
SBAC is also offering a membership for 16- to 18-year-olds, with access for that age group until 10 pm. The membership options are available at sisterbayathleticclub.com/join.
In addition to offering InBody composition analysis, which allows individuals to track their fitness changes beyond weight changes, SBAC will also collaborate with the Door County Fitness Studio to offer exercise classes and has two certified personal trainers, Gretchen Johnson and Trish Arauio, on staff for personal-training sessions.
“We love Door County and hope that the gym will help build the community, especially for year-round residents,” Krebs said.
To kick off the reopening, SBAC will host an event July 7, 9-11 am, about great hikes in Door County and on the Ice Age Trail. Experienced hiker Mark Glasser of Ellison Bay will lead the discussion, with Zero Sum providing smoothies for attendees.