Amid COVID Shutdown, SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Positions Newark Personal Training & Wellness Studio to Survive
After losing his job at a corporate gym, Widchard Jilus went out on his own to start his own fitness company in Newark, NJ. He put all his savings into the venture, but as COVID-19 hit the NJ/NY/CT area in March 2020, he saw his private clients fleeing from their offices and metro NJ area. Jilus applied for an SBA COVID-19 EIDL loan in late March 2020 and was approved for $71,000 in October 2020. He credits the SBA funding as "a lifeline that helped position me and my business to survive. If I did not apply for an EIDL, there would be no way for me to continue my business," Jilus says.
Widchard sees the EIDL proceeds as a helping hand, saying "the SBA is helping me stay in business. They have provided this capital in a dire moment - and it's helping me keep alive as if I were in business. Thanks to EIDL, I've been able to maintain my operations."
During COVID, LivFit Fitness conducted free group exercise classes outside all summer (2020) long across the street from its office space at Washington Park in Newark. The classes were led by a different Trainer every class. LivFit Fitness also partnered with a local nonprofit, Mentor Newark, and NJPAC’s Youth DJ Services in January 2021 to provide a free virtual work out called “Beat the Stress Community Workout” for all mentors and mentees. They are currently in talks with one of the local hospitals to provide the same class for all healthcare workers.
"The SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program helped position us to survive," Jilus says.