Gym Owner Buys 52 Pairs of Nanos to Thank Members for their Loyalty

April 14, 2021 by
Courtesy of Jason Keesler
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At the end of 2018, an electrical fire all but destroyed CrossFit Illuminati in Houston, TX, causing gym owner Jason Keesler to temporarily downsize from a 5,200 to a 1,200 square foot facility with very little equipment. A year later, COVID-19 hit and caused another service disruption in the form of a two-and-a-half month gym shutdown. 

  • Considering what his members have been through in the last two years, Keesler, who has owned CrossFit Illuminati with his wife Amy Keesler for eight years, said he wouldn’t have blamed them for canceling their memberships. 
  • But they didn’t. Instead, they doubled down on their loyalty, he explained, and he couldn’t be more thankful. “I wouldn’t have been able to keep the doors open this last year if they didn’t keep paying their memberships,” he said of the 50-plus loyal members who didn’t hesitate to weather not one, but two storms with him in the last two years. 

Giving back: To show his appreciation for their loyalty, Keesler “quietly started gathering” the shoe sizes of all those who stuck it out through both the fire and COVID-19, and purchased 52 pairs of Reebok Nanos for each and every one of them.

  • “I just wanted to show my gratitude to them,” said Keesler, who also gave each client a handwritten, personalized card.

One big thing: The reason the Keesler’s were able to afford to buy 52 pairs of shoes is because of the massive uptick of clients they have had in 2021 so far.

  • “We don’t usually get a January ‘new year, new me’ crew, but this year we picked up 40 new clients,” Keesler said. 
  • As a result, CrossFit Illuminati has twice many members today as they did a year ago, giving them reason to hope that the future will be less challenging than the last two years have been. “Last year we were just surviving, but this year we’re thriving,” he added. 

The big picture: Though being a gym owner has been anything but easy in recent months, Keesler insists it has been worth every challenge that has come up.

  • “I still absolutely love it. Some days my days are long, but there’s nothing I’d rather do,” he said. And the reception he received from gifting 52 pairs of shoes to his loyal members has only solidified this.
  • “One woman has been with us for seven years and has popped out two kids since we have known her…Another (member) started with us when she was 19 an now is about to get married…So many of them have become part of our family,” he said. 
  • Keesler added: “When I gave out the cards, a lot of them cried. They cried. I cried. There were a lot of tears…It’s something I’ll always remember. It’s something they’ll always remember. It was overwhelming and it was totally worth it.”

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