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At this point in time, struggling businesses would love to get their hands on any sort of funding or financial help to prop things up.

The Racquet Club got a boost from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Monday and, according to its owner, it couldn’t come soon enough.

The club was one of 62 businesses around the country to receive a grant from the chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) Small Business Relief Fund in the amount of $10,000. It was also the only business based in the NWT to receive a grant.

More than 1,100 businesses in Canada applied for one of the more than five-dozen grants available, according to a news release from the chamber on Monday.

The money to fund the grants came from the Canadian arm of Salesforce, an American-based software firm which deals in customer management.

Kelli McKim-Barter, the club’s owner, said she was excited when she was informed this past Friday.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” she said.

She said the money is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, June 30.

Madison Penney stretches her legs following an outdoor workout on the patio at the Racquet Club in early June. The club was announced as a recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) Small Business Relief Fund this past Monday, the only NWT-based business to receive it.
NNSL file photo

According to the chamber, any business which received a grant were those that best demonstrated their financial strain, how the business will use the grant to change or innovate, how the change or innovation will sustain the business’ recovery and allow it to prosper, and how the grant will support the role each business plays in their community.

McKim-Barter said a large chunk of the club’s grant will go toward helping to pay for the new protocols in place on-site, which are in place since the club re-opened to the public on June 23.

“We’ve had to hire additional staff to help with cleaning and monitoring the building,” she said. “It’s not status quo right now and it won’t be for a while. It’s actually costing us more to operate since we re-opened than before we closed.”

She also said because the numbers of people in classes have decreased – due in large part to the restrictions on the amount of bodies allowed in one area – there will be online offerings so people can continue their workouts at home.

“We can have up to 14 in a spin class, 14 for a regular workout and 35 total in the weight rooms, all dependent on space,” she said. “We have 30,000 sq. ft. of space so we have options for people but it’s all about making sure we’re within the guidelines.”

In the same release, Perrin Beatty, the chamber’s president and CEO, stated it was heartbreaking and inspiring reviewing the applications but also saw how determined entrepreneurs have been to preserve jobs.

McKin-Barter said her employees have been amazing in getting things back to normal but it’s the members who seemed to be the happiest.

“Our members are over the moon to be back,” she said. “It’s such a community that we have and it’s great that we’re open again. It’s a big change but we’re happy and we’ve had so much support from our members. Our team pulled everything together and I couldn’t be more thankful.”

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James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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