My name is Mandee Stearns I started CrossFit in 2008. We actually opened a family business that was a tumbling and cheerleading gym and in it we had 24-hour fitness center and somebody approached us and said ‘hey, we'd like to do CrossFit in here too.’. We didn't really know what it was. So it started as a class like three times a week and I mean it just grew from there. It became its own business.
In 2009, my family partnered with somebody when we originally started the business and then slowly over the years I got more and more involved and in 2011 I became a full-time coach and the business manager and I've been here full-time ever since. When we moved from our other location we need built specifically for CrossFit so we really wanted this space to really feel like a CrossFit gym.
When we took it over it was an old car dealership and so it's just a big open space and we didn't want it to feel sterile. We want our members to feel at home. We wanted them to feel like it was specifically made for them and for what we do that was our motivation for a lot of the things that we got was we just wanted to make it a warmer like more engaging environment. They love it. Yeah everybody thinks it's great.
Actually, when we moved from the other gym we had a big track in the back and it was really a beautiful view and you can see the sky which is really pretty and we hated to leave that so the pictures that we put on the back wall we actually took out on that track so that we wanted that view kind of to still be part of this gym even though we had to kind of leave it behind. So that's what the motivation was for that and I think most people recognize that and you know like that complex we've got athletes on the wall who have been here a long time who are you know great members of our community here who represent cross the Huntsville.
The hardest thing was our leader boards that we did. They were really really helpful in figuring out with what surface to use because we needed to be like a dry erase that we could change and we had designed it but we just designed it on a computer we don’t really know what we are doing. We just came up with a design and they were really able to transfer that into what we wanted and that probably took the most time just to try to figure out how to make that work and look the way we wanted it to but it worked out great in the end.
I think that the biggest thing for us was that we had a lot of ideas that we weren't really sure how we were going to make them happen. The people that we worked with during this process were so helpful. We came to them with some really concrete things and then we came to them with some pretty vague ideas and they really helped us nail that down and so there were other ideas that, had we not had a company to work with, it really would’ve never happened because we really didn't know how to make it happen even though we thought it would be cool if we did this and we thought it would look great if we did this so we really kind of stuck with it until we found somebody who could really help us make that happen and we were really really excited in the end.
So when we first saw all the displays up we were super excited! Everything that we had wanted came to fruition we were not disappointed in anything and it looked even better than we had imagined and so we were thrilled when we saw the final product.