Determined to defy adversity, the financially-strapped owners of Queenstown’s closed aerial and hoops studio are making a comeback thanks to community generosity.
The future of Gravity Entertainment Ltd was hanging in the balance after the business was pursued by liquidators in April.
But owners Mike and Sarah Jane Harford aren’t giving up and negotiations to salvage Gravity are under way.
Financial problems stemming from a five-month delay getting into their new facility, at Remarkables Park, last year forced them to give up their lease in April.
The initial fit-out loan eventually dissolved into personal living costs and despite a second loan they couldn’t financially recover, forcing them to close the doors to the business they started in 2015.
But after students gave them a book filled with photos and letters of support, Sarah Jane decided she wasn’t giving up without a fight.
They need between $30,000 and $40,000 – a portion of what they owe – to convince liquidators they can get back into the black.
A Givealittle page, set up by a student, and an offer to rent space from CrossFit Queenstown, on Gorge Road, have been a saving grace in getting Gravity back off the ground.
“It’s back to humble beginnings, because when I first started I was sharing a space with Remarkables CrossFit,” Sarah Jane says.
“It’s been a really hard time emotionally and financially … we honestly couldn’t get through it without the amazing support we’ve had.”
Meantime Mike, who fitted out the Remarks Park studio, salvaged materials and is now using them to construct a self-contained tiny house.
He says he’s on the hunt for more materials to finish the build which he’s planning to auction off to pay back more of the debt.
“We are still a long way off, so any little bit means so much,” Mike says.
The couple say they’re also grateful to social services like Salvation Army and Strengthening Families.
“So many people, random people who don’t even know us, have been so kind – we can’t thank them enough,” Mike says.
Gravity’s open day runs from 10am, this Saturday, at CrossFit Queenstown – adults and kids’ classes begin again next week.
Anyone with building materials can email firstname.lastname@example.org
– MIRANDA COOK