This week, we’re stopping by an outstanding local business that has much to offer our community beneath its surface. We’re talking about Elko PAC (Performance Athletic Club). At first glance, one may assume it’s merely a place where people go to work out, so they can look and feel good. However, after talking with today’s guest, it’s evident that this facility offers so much more to offer its members and staff. It’s a place that opens the door for friendship, community, support, stability, and so much more for people with real stories behind each one of those workouts. Staff members are placed in an environment where they can thrive and be encouraged, despite their body types or fitness involvement. Members have a positive space where they can build healthy relationships with others and themselves. And the community is invited to participate in the facility’s many events centered around giving back to our area, such as Run with the PAC and their Shop with a Cop volleyball tournament. Overall, it’s safe to assume that PAC is so much more than just a gym! Let’s learn more!
Elko PAC first opened its doors in March of 2011, and since then, the center has grown and evolved in so many fantastic ways. From the beginning, our guest has been there for it all, PAC’s assistant manager, Yessenia Haggard. Since day one, Yessenia has been a PAC member and has worked on staff since 2016 and is currently also a yoga instructor. So, if there’s anybody who would be perfect for speaking with to learn more about the gym, it’s her! So, let’s jump right into the conversation!
Thank you for joining us this week, Yesenia! We know that you have a busy schedule between instructing your classes and your management responsibilities, so we appreciate your time! To kick things off, can you please tell us a little bit about your history with the PAC and overall thoughts about the facility?
“I’ve been certified in yoga since 2008; it’s kind of my jam. I had my son, and when I came back to PAC after that, one of the instructors and I became friends. She had really pushed me to become a yoga instructor with her here. Without her, I wouldn’t be in the position I am now! So, I started as a yoga instructor, but I began proving myself because I wanted to do more than teach yoga. At the time, another manager saw a lot of potential in me and wanted to expand me into other formats. The owner also wanted me to grow more within the facility, as well. I eventually became the event coordinator, and that opened the door for me to get into management.
“I love PAC. I pour my heart and soul into PAC. I love teaching, and I love being involved with individuals! People will joke about me living here, but I do; I’m here seven days a week because I love it! When you’re an instructor and manager of a gym, it can be interesting. You get to see the different dynamics of all the people who come in, as well as their stories. There are so many different stories. And it’s not just about the weight loss; you’d be surprised to know how many people need fitness or that human interaction for mental and emotional lives. For example, many women will come to a group fitness class who battle with postpartum depression after having kids. Their way of getting away is coming to the gym. When new people first move to Elko, they may not know anybody here, so they’ll come to the gym and make friends. We’ll have recovering alcoholics or drug addicts who will come in and work out as their outlet. Fitness can benefit so many people differently. It’s beautiful to see people’s stories and their outcome from their journeys.”
That’s very interesting, Yesenia. Can you please elaborate more on how your members’ stories are shaped positively by spending time with you guys?
“The atmosphere here reminds people that they are not alone. It was really hard during the pandemic shutdowns for many people. I received messages from individuals who were feeling suicidal during that period or as if they were going to relapse because they couldn’t come in and utilize this outlet.
“A unique thing I’ve seen come out of PAC has been the friendships. From the first day, the owner opened the facility, I have seen people become lifelong friends from this place. Some of the members have even become a part of my family!”
What has been PAC’s approach to navigating all of the choppy waters that 2020 has thrown many local businesses’ way?
“We’re trying to do our best for the business and the community. However, it’s not just about our business; it’s about every business in the community. We don’t want to see any business be shut down because we don’t plan to shut down again, ourselves! We want to show the governor that we’re a gym that’s doing our part! When everything happened, the owner could have cashed in and decided to close the gym to travel the world or something, but she wanted to stay open and put the money back into the facility! During the shutdown, we took the opportunity to update the building and deep clean every piece of equipment, all the way down to the screws! When we got word of the initial shut down back in March, we immediately went to work on trying to figure out exactly how to reopen our doors again. Unfortunately, we were not provided with any assistance or guidance from our government agencies. So with the help of Heather, the Owner’s daughter, we put together the manual to ensure we could reopen safely to the public by going above and beyond the OSHA and CDC standards. We recognized that reopening would need to be a group effort across the entire County of Elko, so it was important for us to then share the information with the other businesses in the community.”
What else do we need to know about PAC itself?
“In December, we’re doing our zero-enrollment promotion with our six, twelve, and twenty-four-month contracts. With those contracts, members will so get our PAC swag as well as our PAC bucks, which can be used towards products in the facility!”
“PAC is about ready to celebrate its tenth anniversary next year! We’re super excited! We’re going to have special gifts for our longtime members!
“Over the years, I’ve been able to see not only our members grow, but the building itself grow as well! Originally, the PAC was built with only one phase, but we saw that people loved the gym, and the owner decided that the community deserves more! So, she proposed two more phases, and in 2012, we opened up our second phase! At the end of 2012, we were able to open up our third phase. We wanted to give the community the best of the best because the community has given us so much support!”
That all sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing your testimony and insight with us today, Yesenia! Is there anything else we need to know before we let you get back to the action?
“We’ve appreciated everybody’s support over the last ten years. The reason why the PAC has grown, and we’re able to add onto the building and buy more equipment, is because of the people. We love being a part of the community and apart of Elko.”
If you’d like to learn more about PAC and get involved, today, you can check out their website here: Elko PAC
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Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!