ALBUQUERQUE – Lucy Romero and Doug Wood struggled to keep their two facilities in northwest Albuquerque afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they remain in business today.
âIt’s an incredible feeling. We are always optimistic. We’re not going to give up hope, that’s for sure, âRomero said. âWe have a lot of work to do, but we are optimistic. We hope people are here to stay.
The couple, who reside in Rio Rancho, own the Anytime Fitness gym in Unser and McMahon NW, as well as Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming just south of the Cottonwood Mall. Their gym opened in February 2017, and Woof Gang opened in July 2020.
The couple also faced the economic blow caused by the restrictions businesses faced in 2020.
Under COVID-19 statewide business restrictions last year, Romero said Woof Gang could only provide their premium dog food and dog treats – which was an essential service – and had to shut down its grooming services for a few months.
She said the grooming service fell under the “salon” category, which was not an essential service.
âObviously everyone took a huge hitâ¦ Our expectations were low because everything was practically at a standstill,â said Romero, who has worked in the fitness industry for 29 years.
Wood, Sandoval County Sheriff from 2010 to 2018, said Anytime Fitness is scheduled to shut down for four or five months during 2020.
Wood said it costs the gym over $ 25,000 a month just to keep the doors open and to operate, and he’s bled over $ 15,000 a month during the pandemic. In November, he said, it reached a point where Anytime Fitness was preparing to shut down for good and file for bankruptcy within 30 days.
âThe problem is, the gym was the guarantor of the US Small Business Administration (SBA) loan for Woof Gang. So when they closed the gymnasium, the bank froze the moneyâ¦ The bank was not going to release any more funds until the gymnasium reopened, âsaid Wood.
He said the two establishments are independent limited liability companies, which means the two must survive independently.
Indeed, the two establishments are still there, getting back on their feet as vaccinations increased and restrictions were gradually lifted.
Wood said the current situation has improved to the point that money doesn’t bleed, but it’s still unclear what the immediate future will bring to both buildings due to the emergence of the Delta variant.
âWe always try to pick up and bring our members back to our facilities, but nothing is guaranteed,â Romero said.