Monday, January 6, 2014

Only on Bowen: letting the community manage your business

Happy New Year.  Summer continues here - well, not summer exactly, as it has been cool.  We have had high pressure systems take up residence over the north Pacific for most of the fall and winter hasn't really arrived yet.  It will soon though.

In the irregular set of posts I call "Only on Bowen" comes this Undercurrent story about Fawn Gill's strategy for coping with demand at the Bowen Island Gym.  Dig it:

Since the beginning of December, the Gym at Artisan Square has been open every day from 6am to 10pm and owner Fawn Gill says the experiment in this new operating method has been such a success that it is here to stay.
Gill says she needed to move to a system like this because she was getting burnt out by being on call every time one of her volunteer staff wasn’t able to make it. She also wanted to offer people more flexibility for their work-outs. 
“There are people on this island whose lives have been saved by working out, so on a certain level I really see making it easy for people as a community service.”
Gill says that so far she’s received positive feedback from members and more people are working out on a daily basis. A few new have also joined up. 
“People are looking after the gym,” says Gill, “and they’re looking after each other.”

Where, in any small business text book anywhere does it say "to increase your operating hours, just give your customers the key!"  Fawn is not just a business owner; she hosts a small committed community up there at Artisan Square.  I think Bowen Island Gym members are as fiercely loyal to her business as you are likely to get.  So naturally she parlays this loyalty and trust by letting them self-manage and look after each other so she can have something like a 40 hour work week, and her customers can still meet their needs.

Awesome.  Welcome to Bowen Island, where everything you thought you knew about business just doesn't apply!