Jeff and Ali Peet started doing CrossFit in 2010 to get in better shape for their upcoming wedding. Those few months before their wedding turned into a lifestyle as they fell in love with CrossFit. They went on to get their Level 1 and coach at that gym.
There, they met Brian De Leon, also a Coach, and his wife Kelly. The friendship grew and the couples began working out at the De Leons’ pole barn, which sat a couple hundred yards away from their house.
“We started to realize we had different goals in CrossFit than the other members or trainers at our current gym,” said Peet. “We started acquiring equipment and expanding. Slowly but surely, people started asking us if they could come hang out and work out with us on certain nights, and of course we said sure.”
One night at dinner, De Leon suggested they open their own Box in the pole barn, and thus, CrossFit Unlocked was born in Georgetown, Delaware.
“We opened with zero members and we thought maybe a couple people would follow us over from the other gym,” said Peet. “It ended up being more than we expected, which was a pretty cool feeling. We grew from zero to right around 100 pretty quick.”
That growth can be attributed highly to word of mouth. The owners made CrossFit the talk of the hallways at the local public schools where they taught, and they were always thinking of ways they could encourage their co-workers to join.
“We found that just by talking about it at school, we get a lot of teachers coming in,” said Peet.
Even though they have grown in size, CrossFit Unlocked has no plans of changing locations from the barn in the De Leon’s yard. It has a family feel and promotes the tight-knit community they want to remain no matter how big they grow. However, the location has offered up one specific challenge for the owners over the years. “It’s on a backroad,” said Peet. “People drive by and they see a house and a pole barn and think, ‘This can’t be a CrossFit.’ We have gradually been able to expand within the building and now we are adding on some outdoor space. We are making the best with the space we have.”
The expansion doesn’t stop at the building as the owners, along with the owners at CrossFit Krypton, have created a scholarship program. The Brains and Brawn Scholarship helps high school seniors who are members of an Affiliate for at least six months earn a little extra money for college. “We definitely want to continue to grow the scholarship program; it is so important to us,” said Peet.
Peet said one of the biggest lessons they learned is it’s OK to start small. To begin, they bought enough equipment for eight people per class. As more people joined, they bought as needed. “Take the growth as it comes and attack it,” said Peet. “Being overly proactive can sometimes be a negative.”