Historic PT Athletic Club seeks crucial support via public fundraising campaign

Luciano Marano
Posted 12/9/20

The Port Townsend Athletic Club has joined the ranks of local institutions seeking to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic through public fundraising.

Historic or not, the …

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Historic PT Athletic Club seeks crucial support via public fundraising campaign


The Port Townsend Athletic Club has joined the ranks of local institutions seeking to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic through public fundraising.

Historic or not, the landmark business has barely managed to weather the impact of government restrictions so far and faces a future that is uncertain at best, according to owner Teresa Hoffmann.

“The story remains to be seen,” she said, lamenting the nearly year-long closure as a situation she could not have foreseen “in a million years” and which has taken an outsized toll on gyms and athletic facilities.

“As an industry, it has destroyed so many facilities and businesses,” Hoffmann said.

The problem, as Hoffmann explained on the campaign’s GoFundMe page, is one of time. Specifically, the gym has been forced to be closed for a very long time and has not reopened since the initial shutdown earlier this year — even in a limited capacity.

“Due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions,” she wrote, “fitness clubs have been required to close completely [and] this continued closure of our operations has threatened the ability for [us] to reopen when the health restrictions are lifted, and we desperately need your help in raising $200,000 to cover ongoing rent, insurance, taxes, utilities and a limited payroll for a few key employees.”

Some members have continued to pay dues, and others have simply frozen their account with the stated intention to return again as soon as possible.

Others, however, had to cancel, saying they could not afford to pay a membership for a gym they could not attend.

As of Tuesday, the effort had raised $12,595 through 64 donors.

If the campaign reaches its $200,000 goal, Hoffmann said the amount could potentially see the businesses through the next six or even eight months.

“There is a lot of overhead whether you’re open or not,” Hoffmann said.

“We did the [Paycheck Protection Program] loan early on to try to keep the employees paid and then, of course, time goes on and that only lasts so long,” she said.

Hoffmann also obtained a Small Business Administration loan to keep paying utilities and bills.


In the downtime after the forced closure of the business, Hoffmann said the gym’s staff — and volunteers, too — kept busy. The facility has been cleaned, refurbished, and in some places (such as the new front desk area), completely redesigned and rebuilt.

“It just sort of kept rolling, like a snowball effect of things we could do,” Hoffmann said.

“And then as just the reality of this is not something going away and how are we going to try to set the stage to make the place safe, we kept thinking of things in advance and then [guidelines] would come out and everything kept changing.

“So we went from just doing cleaning to where we have literally emptied every space in this entire building … and repainted the entire inside. We did flooring. We took out all the carpet other than our area rugs, which we power washed. We took equipment out and power washed it, and totally just cleaned everything,” Hoffmann said.

The undertaking, she emphasized, would not have been possible without some gracious assistance.

“We’ve had amazing volunteers,” Hoffmann said. “We’ve had other small businesses come in and contribute to this project. This has been a community effort for sure.

“I personally have exhausted all my personal financial ability just going out and getting materials and funding this work that we were doing here from the beginning, because there’s no time like this, to do things that we could never have done with people here.”

She hopes the community at large will come through via the fundraising effort, the support of which she said is essential to  keeping the club open.


The GoFundMe effort “was the last thing I wanted to do. I never in my life asked for a handout,” she said.

It was actually fellow PT business owner Rocky Friedman, of the Rose Theatre, which itself was the beneficiary of a highly successful public fundraising effort earlier this year, who changed Hoffmann’s mind.

“He said to me, ‘I felt a lot like you; reluctant about the whole thing at first.’ And then he said, ‘But you have to look at it this way: Your membership is different than mine but if I was your member and you were to close your doors and you didn’t even say anything or let anybody know about what was going on, I think I’d be pretty pissed off at you.’

“That was a tipping point for me. I hadn’t really looked at it that way,” Hoffmann said.

Friend and concerned citizen Tanya Barnett, of Port Hadlock, said it is crucial to maintain such an institution as the athletic club, both for the community in general and those more directly affiliated with it.

“[Teresa] fought to keep key employees on the payroll and to pay rent, utilities, and insurance,” Barnett said. “Meanwhile, she has physically labored to maintain and renovate the gym that hundreds of people, especially older adults, in our community rely on for their physical and emotional health. She continues this challenging struggle every day alongside other caring members of our community, some of whom volunteer their time to help reconstruct the club, some give what they can to [the] GoFundMe campaign.”

Hoffmann, a local trainer who worked out of the club, purchased the facility in 2007, though the operation dates back much earlier.

“Port Townsend is full of wonderful funky old buildings and this is one of them,” she said. “The place was a diamond in the rough. It had a great feel to it. The members that were here were awesome. It was funky, nasty but it just had an energy about it and I knew that in the right hands it had a lot of potential — which we proved to be true.”


In her first year at the helm, Hoffmann said she increased membership by nearly 300 percent, a fact which weighs on her now in a strange and unexpected way.

“I never understood when I first got into this,” she said. “I just liked helping people work out, have fun and enjoy, reach their goals; this, that and the other. But I had no idea what a responsibility I was taking on to the community and how many people depend on this place on that level.”

Remaining positive in the face of the lengthy closure, she said, has been hard.

“The whole time I kept thinking: I’m going to make this a good thing,” Hoffmann said. “This place is my life. I have sacrificed so much from the beginning for this business. And it’s my complete livelihood and my retirement, so my means to support my family is this place.”

Visit www.ptathletic.com to learn more about the club and find a link to the fundraising page.


Of the effort’s initial supporters, several commented on the importance of the facility on its GoFundMe page.

“I want the facility to continue to exist,” wrote Caroline Seibert. “The equipment has added significantly to the health of my life and, needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I look forward to being able to go back. Thank you PTAC!”

“It is in the spirit of enlightened self-interest that I think it important to donate,” agreed Joan Becker. “I want to see you all to thrive! Especially after all your hard work!”