COVINGTON, Ky. — You’ll find CoreStrong Fitness nestled inside a large garage space off of Russell Street in Covington.
For six years, hundreds have gone there for functional fitness, full body workouts and nutrition help. Now, the group is seeking help from Covington to stay afloat during the pandemic.
“This was really one of those things that just throws you for a loop,” said owner and founder Stephanie Tieman.
For the first time since its opening in 2014, the hidden gem of a gym had to close its doors, and it was due to COVID-19. Although she continues providing workouts virtually, she says it is not the same.
“It’s been gut wrenching to be honest. It’s still terrible every day,” she said, referring to closing the doors during the pandemic. “It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but the fear of the unknown was really hard! I felt like when I said goodbye, I don’t know when I’m going to see them again.”
Her business is one of 32 that has applied for Covington’s Mortgage and Rent Assistance Program this month alone.
The program is set up to provide businesses up to $500 off their rent or mortgage, for up to four months, totaling to $2,000 by the end of that time frame.
“We’re prioritizing the service businesses,” said economic development project manager for Covington, Ross Patten. “Those are the ones where customers weren’t coming in the door. Office workers can still work remotely, so this is primarily towards retailers, restaurants, bars, gyms… those types of businesses.”
The city had to reallocate $200,000 from its economic development budget in order to provide this financial aid.
“We have a facade program and just because we realized that many people weren’t going to be doing these types of projects, we allocated from there,” said Patten. “We also had an open position that we decided not to fund.”
Covington has budgeted enough money to help about 100 businesses, and is encouraging more of them to reach out to get that aid.
“I think what some communities are starting to do is have cut-offs, and we see this as a long-run thing,” said Patten. “Businesses are going to be open again but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be back to what it was. We’re keeping this open and ongoing and accepting applications.”
As for Tieman’s gym, the doors are expected to reopen to the public in June. She says the Mortgage and Rent Assistance Program is a big reason why that could happen.
“It’s really a weight off the shoulders,” she said while sighing in relief. “It gives us time to see what’s going to happen. Everything is changing and what I struggle with is where is this fitness industry going.”
If you are a business in Covington and wish to apply, click here or email Patten at firstname.lastname@example.org.