More Best of Federal Way winners/finalists share insights into success

“We focused on meeting our clients where they are.”

The Mirror recently announced our Best of Federal Way 2021 winners and finalists. We asked these winners and finalists a few questions about their success. Their answers will appear in the Mirror for the next few weeks.

Best Hour Fitness: Winner, Fitness Facility/Location

What has running a business over the last year been like?

Two words: challenging and rewarding. Fitness locations were shut down twice during the year, in March and again in November. It was a brutal hit to our business and morale.

The staff went right to work learning how to teach over Zoom and YouTube. We started creating kickboxing class videos our members could watch anything. We learned about video editing, video production, multicamera, stage lighting, and professional sound. We polled our clients weekly and made improvements immediately. We invested in creating a mobile app to make it easier for clients to schedule their Zoom and in-studio classes so we would be prepared when we reopened under-occupancy restrictions.

We switched from iLoveKickboxing to BestHour Kickboxing and completely remodeled our studio and modernized our program. We started offering private classes.

We stay positive, managed day by day, and deliver the best possible customer experience possible with a positive vibe.

What’s the secret to your success, even during difficult times?

We focused on meeting our clients where they are and created products to help them get where they wanted to go. We made investments to create new products like Interactive Zoom Fitness Kickboxing classes with professional audio microphones so our clients could hear our instructors correct their form during the Zoom class. We purchased professional video production equipment and studio lighting in order to create the highest quality videos for our on-demand library our clients could watch any time on their big TVs.

We stayed positive, appreciated every single client who stuck with us. We recognized clients who completed their workout via Zoom or on-demand. We didn’t burden our clients with our problems, we kept a positive attitude and outlook, even after we were forced to close a 2nd time in November.

The team focused on growth and personal development to stay positive. We visioned a future with a better program than before.

When pandemic restrictions are lifted, what’s the first thing you’re looking forward to doing?

I look forward to the day we can throw a giant member appreciation party at the park, grill some food, play frisbee and mingle and laugh together.

I look forward to treating our staff and their families to bowling and laser tag and maybe even an escape room experience.

Most importantly, I look forward to the day I can safely fist bump a client after a great kickboxing class and tell them how proud I am of them for burning an insane number of calories.

— Jim Harrer, Best Hour Fitness

Brooklake Christian School: Finalist, Educational Facility

What has running a business over the last year been like?

It has been challenging, but it has been a growth experience. When you’re in the position that gives oversight, more than likely, everyone looks to you for guidance and hope. Not only must you ensure that your team is well, but there can also be the looming responsibility to lead those whom your organization is serving. In a nutshell, it has felt like a very heavy weight to carry; the weight of uncertainty, pressure, and sometimes fear. Based on your context, there are so many dynamics at play. On the other hand, the weight of it all has made me stronger; it’s been 12+ months of character development.

What’s the secret to your success, even during difficult times?

Being a person of faith, I attribute any success during these difficult times to prayer and community. Staying connected to a higher power; staying connected to what transcends the troubles of this world; it has sustained me and given me hope for restoration. In addition to this, being connected to people (whether if it was virtually or in-person socially distanced) has added so much more meaning to my relationships. I believe that when you have meaning, you have the strength required to endure. Earnest prayer and genuine relationships (community) have been key to my success.

When pandemic restrictions are lifted, what’s the first thing you’re looking forward to doing?

Practically speaking, as soon as it’s safe enough, I want to have a party! Loud music, good food, and lots of fun! I don’t want to feel like I’m doing anything that is remotely close to working. I don’t want any responsibilities; I don’t want to lead; I don’t want to strategize; I don’t even want to ponder on anything! All I want to do is laugh and have an extremely good time with those I love…Not being able to gather without safety precautions or apprehension hasn’t been ideal. I want to be able to party as if COVID-19 never existed!

— Aundre D. Washington, school director, Brooklake Christian School