Growing Pains


“We’re finding that our members don’t really know where to go on the floor,” said Nina Cobb, the owner of CrossFit of Ithaca in Ithaca, New York. “Now, it’s just free open floor and everyone really doesn’t know where to go.”

On February 1, CrossFit of Ithaca opened the doors of its new 3,000-square-foot Box. It was a big expansion from the 800-square-foot gym it was operating in for the first two years of its life.

“Our numbers were actually going backwards from where we were. We had a horrible driveway, our landlord sucked. And we were kind of on the outskirts of town, so we didn’t really tap into the city of Ithaca. We figured our lease was coming up, so we better find something else,” explained Cobb.

She was not sure if her membership was decreasing because of the tight space, though the lack of showers was a voiced problem. But, she knew her members were getting tired of huddling in a 5-by-5 corner to change shoes.

In the old space, Cobb spray painted “little tick marks” on the floor to indicate where members should stand so they’re not in the way of others lifting, and so the gym could fit the most members in the 800-square-foot space. Which is why, explained Cobb, CrossFit of Ithaca’s members feel so lost in the bigger space.


The new gym has two showers, two bathrooms and a lounge room in addition to the WOD area.

The space was practically handed to them. A member had mentioned the space for a year, and Cobb finally went to scope it out. Before she knew it, she was writing a check.

Construction and preparing the space was a lot more work than Cobb anticipated, but members helped. Cobb explained if one of her members had a couple hours to spare, they would stop by the new space and ask to be put to work.

It was a little worrisome to move to a new, bigger space while her membership was dropping, but Cobb plans to tap into the everyday-people demographic to grow her team. “Our new goal with this new space is to just keep getting the same kinds of people in our gym. I feel like every CrossFit is very, very different, and the community we strive for is the everyday people,” said Cobb.

Cobb recognized she was fortunate the space came to her, but she knew she needed to move based on her member’s feedback and simply overseeing gym operations. “What I would tell other people is to let it come to you. Let that stuff kind of happen,” she said. “And if someone comes to you for a year with a space that they think is going to work for you, then they’re probably telling you something.”

Hayli Goode is the former digital editor for Peake Media.