"We walked away from successful jobs and our sanity, but we always knew that there was something about the three of us that would work."
Affiliate Name: CrossFit Brockville
Affiliate Owner: Justin Roosenmaallen, Shawn Davidson, Alysia Radke
Affiliate Since: January 2012
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Square Feet: 1,800
Number of Members: 75
Describe your affiliate in six or fewer words:
Healthy combination of bizarre and hilarious.
How did you get your box started?
CrossFit Brockville started as a Saturday class at Alysia and Justin’s son’s Karate Dojo, which was owned by Shawn’s aunt. Classes continued for three months while we searched for a location and renovated it. We ended up setting up shop in an old oil change building in a strip mall outside of town. It took us a month of around-the-clock hours tearing down walls, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Our members came in after work and on weekends and helped with the painting, building and moving … without them we would not have been able to accomplish what we did in such a short time. We opened on April Fool’s day with the Filthy 50 and we have not looked back since.
Tell us who you were/what you did before you owned a CrossFit affiliate.
Justin, who is our full-time onsite owner/trainer was a long haul truck driver. He was on his 10th year of driving when we opened our box and he retired from it to become the full-time trainer.
Shawn was an Infanteer with the Canadian Armed Forces and completed four tours in Afghanistan, he was introduced to CrossFit as part of his rehabilitation. He now serves as a Combat Advisor/Infanteer, which enables him to run the night and weekend classes.
Alysia runs a home daycare. As the organizer in the group, her job has her running the website and our Facebook page, designing brochures and silk screening our shirts. She has also become the planner of all of our competitions.
Do your members compete in the CrossFit Open/Games or in local competitions?
Yes, even though our box was still under construction during the 2012 Open, we had seven athletes compete. Since opening, we have attended numerous competitions in Quebec and Ontario. We will be competing in the Open again this year and hope to have some athletes compete in Regionals.
What do you and your members do together besides train?
Our members have bonded over beer pong and karaoke, belly dancing and Warrior Dashes. We have such a wide variety of interests among our members that it is easy to find someone to share your adventures with. This summer we are putting together a skydiving group.
Best lesson you’ve learned so far:
Let things grow organically. What works at one box might not work at yours. Research your community and let your members help form the box into what suits their needs and wants. Get a big sign out front and get your people out in the community showing everyone what CrossFit can do for them. Take part in community events, sponsor sports teams, do anything you can to make your name known.
Advice you wish you had been given:
Don't waste money on radio ads.
What question would you love to ask other affiliate owners?
When did you realize it was time to enlarge?
Why do you do this?
Best job in the world. Being there when people hit a PR or get their first box jump … seeing your 5-year-old kip a pull-up … best feeling ever.
Tell us something cool, unusual, or just slightly different about your affiliate.
Less than two months after opening our doors, we hosted a sold out tag team competition. Amongst our competitors was the winning team from 2012 Canada East Regional. Having them compliment our competition and our box made us realize we had done something right. Lots of people outside the CrossFit world questioned us putting so much on the line to start up a box in a community that had no idea what CrossFit was. We walked away from successful jobs and our sanity, but we always knew that there was something about the three of us that would work.
We don’t specialize in one thing. We have members that range from 5 to 60 years old, and recently our box adopted a stray puppy that had been found deserted at the side of the road. We have track stars and tractor salesmen, soccer moms and fitness models and on any given day you may find us sprinting or cleaning atlas stones.
We love wearing stupid shirts with the words “Snatch” and “Jerk” on them and eat pumpkin pie in between rounds of Helen to celebrate Thanksgiving … it may be a cliché, but we are family … and, hey, we are just here to work out.
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