Making an impact works four ways when Ginny Pietila and her team get moving.
It’s all about fitness, training, life and community for the Mercer Island resident who rebranded her downtown business from the Mercer Island Athletic Club to its current moniker of IMPACT Fitness + Training on March 17.
That date is significant because it marked the one-year point when Pietila’s business was shut down for the first time when the pandemic hit. She opened the Mercer Island Athletic Club in February of 2015, and prior to that she ran Club Emerald on the Island for 21 years. Fitness and training within the Island community are ingrained in Pietila’s core.
Pietila said it was tough to remove Mercer Island from the business’ name — because they’re fiercely dedicated to the city — but they want to make sure that people know exactly what is being offered.
“We’re fitness. We’re training. We’re going to make an impact on your life. We’re going to continue to make an impact on the community,” said Pietila, adding that business has been rolling with the name change and it validates that they made the right move. The team is excited and is looking forward to what the future holds.
While standing outside IMPACT Fitness + Training on a recent morning, Pietila pushed through her emotions to mentally relive March 17, 2020. It was the beginning of a tough year, she said.
“That was a very sad day, and then it was a bit of survival mode I would say for the first four or five weeks that we were closed,” said Pietila, adding that she and manager Ryan Shosten scrubbed down all their equipment and waited for reopening day. They kept the lines of communication open with emails to their clients — and kept waiting.
A 2020 timeline shows the business first being closed for three months; running online training before reopening in mid-June for outside-only training; and getting the green light to move some training indoors in September. More changes arose when they were shut down for a second time in mid-November to mid-January.
With confidence, community support and some federal monetary assistance on their side, Pietila and her team weathered the storm and then unveiled their new name and business model.
“I think we’re definitely more resilient and we’ve also learned not to let the little things (bother us). We keep our eye on the big picture and we keep our eye on our clients — and the people matter. Without the people, there’s no fitness,” she said.
Pietila said that by removing the open gym aspect, they’ve elevated their clients’ experience. The appointment-only classes and personal training are open to everyone, and Shosten added that they make sure the training is tailored to each client’s specific needs in order to achieve their goals. On the group side, classes are capped at eight clients per session with six-foot spacing. Following each session, all the equipment used is sanitized.
All seven of the business’ personal trainers are keeping busy, Pietila said.
“(That) makes me just so happy for them, for our clients, for our community that’s kind of coming out of their homes now, saying, ‘Alright, it’s time for me to take care of me,’ get out from behind the screen, have some safe personal interaction,” she added.
Pietila said they give back to the community as much as possible through their involvement with Mercer Island Youth and Family Services, school booster clubs and more.
Karen Schmid appreciates the stellar training she’s received from Pietila and her team for the last 25 years on the Island.
On the business side of things, Schmid added about Pietila: “She’s been very inspiring through this whole thing, because she’s been through the thick and thin of it and she’s just kept very positive — and kept us very positive. That right there just makes you feel good every time you come in here.”
Visit them at 7785 Sunset Highway, Suite 118, and online at: https://www.impactfitnessandtraining.com/