CHEYENNE – As firefighter Ryan Seaberg was getting off a 48-hour shift Tuesday morning, he saw his phone “blowing up” with calls.
A short time later, he learned that half the roof of CrossFit Frontier, the gym he opened with fellow trainer Chris Hall in 2011, had collapsed under the weight of a historic volume of snow.
On Wednesday, Seaberg called the incident “surreal.” It was just another stroke of back luck for the gym, located at 2420 E. Seventh St., during a year filled with so much uncertainty and loss for small businesses.
“Dealing with COVID and the restrictions we faced with that had already taken a toll on the gym. This was just kind of a punch in the gut, and even more so as it happened on the day that all COVID restrictions were lifted and we were supposed to get back to operating as normal,” he said.
They’re still waiting for the snow to melt so they can determine what equipment can be salvaged, and they don’t know yet what their insurance will cover. Seaberg estimated they’d lost at least $10,000 in rowing machines alone, and likely much more – but as of Wednesday, they hadn’t been able to get into the building because of the large amount of snow on the uncollapsed part of the roof.
Even so, the gym’s owners and staff are in “’adapt and overcome’ mode.”
“It’s a setback, and we wish we didn’t have to deal with it, but we’re committed to coming back and being better than before,” Seaberg said.
Some of the gym’s members set up a GoFundMe, which had raised more than $4,000 by Thursday afternoon. The money will help Seaberg and Hall buy equipment like slam balls, dumbbells, boxes and SkiErgs that they can set up in a temporary space. The two also plan to bring in their own garage gym equipment to help save money, according to an update from Hall on the GoFundMe page.
“Their support has already been overwhelming, and we can’t overstate how much it means to us,” Seaberg said. “This gym is like a second family, and knowing they all have our back and are here for us is amazing. We can’t wait to get back open for them.”
The gym has a possible location picked out for their temporary space, also on East Seventh Street, though there is no timeline yet for when the space will open, Hall said.
Hall, who is also a fourth-grade teacher at Goins Elementary School, echoed Seaberg’s feelings that the loss of the gym felt surreal, but that he expects the emotional part of the ordeal will hit them once they’ve moved past the logistics of dealing with the situation.
“I’m trying to look at this as an opportunity. Maybe God has a plan for the gym to start new, better than before,” Hall said Wednesday. “Ryan and I are both native to Cheyenne, and we know our members and former members, family and friends, as well as others in the community, are waiting to help once we have access and insurance has done their thing.”
Northwest of the gym, Drew’s Barbershop, along with the other businesses that share its East Pershing Boulevard building, dealt with the collapse of a metal awning that covered their entrances.
Andrea Shipley, who co-owns the barbershop with her husband, Drew Weston, said the awning collapsed during the storm Sunday, and she and Weston found out the following day.
No windows were broken, but the metal scratched up the glass and the logo on the window, and broke one of the barber poles.
Shipley said they expect to reopen Friday, thanks to contractors from Workman Fencing plowing away the snow and taking down the awning.
“It’s a great tale of how the community came together and took good care of a small business, and the small businesses in the rest of that strip, to get us back up and running again quickly,” Shipley said Thursday.
But even the quick action didn’t prevent the barber shop from losing a week’s worth of income.
“The impacts of living through a pandemic and a record-breaking winter storm as a small business are not to be underestimated,” Shipley said.
City continues plowing streets, expects to stay on schedule
Public Works Director Vicki Nemecek said Thursday afternoon that she “absolutely” expects the city to have plowed every residential street by the start of this weekend, a goal announced by Mayor Patrick Collins in a Wednesday winter storm update.
“We’ve done most of them. ... Today and tomorrow, we’ll make sure that we get every street. If somebody calls and says, ‘You didn’t get my street,’ we send somebody out there to make sure that we did, in fact, provide that one blade down the street so that they have access,” Nemecek said.
The one pass down the center of the street is the regular service provided by the city for residential streets, she said.
Crews have been working during evenings and nights since Tuesday to remove snow from the downtown area, and the public is asked to keep their vehicles off the street until that process is completed. Until Monday, Nemecek said, no one will be penalized for parking in the Cox and Spiker structures.
Some of the city’s major roadways remain narrow and will require a snowblower to come in and push back snow, such as Yellowstone Road, Converse Avenue, Pershing Boulevard and parts of Lincolnway. That work will begin Monday, Nemecek said.
With large amounts of snow expected to melt this weekend as temperatures rise into the 50s, the city also has a small team dealing with drainage issues, Nemecek said.
“If you see some areas where there’s puddling or inlets are blocked ... we’ll get those snow piles off those inlets and get our storm sewers going again,” she said.
Jeanine West, the director of Cheyenne-Laramie County Emergency Management, said Tuesday that the warm-up at the end of this week was “concerning,” as it could potentially cause flooding in some areas.
“We’ll be watching those creeks and our waterways – that could be a ‘disaster two’ for the week, but hopefully not,” West said. “Hopefully, Mother Nature will do a slow warm-up, and it slowly melts and we’re good, but that’s another thing that we’re looking at.”