Beer City’s Partnerships with the Locals


A symbiotic relationship is one that is beneficial to both entities, and Beer City CrossFit knows this well.

Abby McDonnell, the owner of the Box located in Asheville, North Carolina, isn’t afraid of building partnerships with local businesses and organizations. In fact, she seeks them out and welcomes prospective partners. “When I think of partnerships, I really think of bringing everything to our current members,” she explained. “It really helps with retention because they know we’re not here just to take their money.”

McDonnell partners with Vitality Holistic Center, Specialized Physical Therapy, Gay Asheville NC, Dig Local, Reebok and Helios WARRIORS. She chose each based on her personal experience with them, as well as if the businesses and organizations align with her Box’s mission.

If McDonnell meets up with a business and finds that their missions aren’t similar, she won’t partner with them. She will find businesses she as an athlete would use, tests them out and only then will ask to partner with someone.

“[I] ask them what their goals are and how they would help me as an athlete and if it works out for me, then of course I would want to offer it to all of our athletes,” she explained.

After determining her partners, McDonnell lets her members know about them. Each is listed on her website’s “Partners” page and is offered an opportunity to host a seminar at the Box. But McDonnell doesn’t stop there.

Each new member at Beer City CrossFit is given a New Member Packet. Along with the Box’s “13 Commandments,” McDonnell has allowed each of her partners to add a little something to the packet. It could be a half-page write up or a coupon. “Each one of our new members gets to see who all of our partners are and what all of their offers are and get to check them out if they’d like to,” she said.

The partnerships benefit both the Box and the other businesses. McDonnell explained her partners offer discounted services and education to her members. In addition, they post Beer City CrossFit flyers in their places of business and recommend people to the gym. On her end, McDonnell points members toward the partners for healthy eating, massage therapy, etc. It helps members realize that their quality of life is dependent on more than just what happens one hour a day at Beer City CrossFit.

“We’re actually fully invested in them, making sure that they’re healthy and leading very good healthy lifestyle outside of just Beer City CrossFit,” said McDonnell.

And as McDonnell said above, that has played a part in the gym’s retention as well. McDonnell said the community and membership know her business is fully invested in both of them. “To us, working out isn’t all that makes you healthy,” she said. “It’s also keeping up with yourself outside of the gym, too.”

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at