Gym owner: ‘I get angry reading about how Shake Shack got $10 million’

Jen and Marcus Wilson are opening True Grit Society
Jen and Marcus Wilson

The Southwest Journal is documenting the coronavirus pandemic by recording the personal stories of Minneapolis residents and workers whose daily lives are in a state of flux. As the outbreak evolves, we will be checking in with the participants regularly. Read all of the stories here.

Interviews are edited for length and clarity.

Jen Wilson, co-owner, True Grit Society gym

I get angry reading articles about how the “small business” Shake Shack got $10 million [from the federal government]. We applied for an [Economic Injury Disaster Loan], and we haven’t heard jack. I applied for one with the city, and they sent out an email yesterday that said, “We ran out of money, and we’re doing a lottery system, so we’ll give you a call if you get it in a couple weeks.” I’m not mad at anybody, but it’s a little frustrating. 

I got my degree a couple years ago from ASU after three tries. I was 45 but I just wanted to do it. I had some old credits from the ’90s, but I needed more to graduate, so I took a lot of classes about religion, which I found very intriguing. We’re Christian, but I was studying everything at the time. A lot of people now are in-betweeners or don’t practice religion. I wonder if a lot of people now will start believing in something to give them hope. We believe in God, and we’re not worried about the longevity of things, but we are worried about getting over this hump.

We are not at a place where we’d have to shut down from this, but a lot of people are. I’m trying to give some perspective to things so I don’t get all doom and gloom. We have it better than many people right now.  

If we can get a loan and get some help, that would be great. If not, we’ll continue to do what we’ve done for the past year, which is work our asses off and do our best and build something. That’s what we did for the past year, but this has taken that away. I think people are starting to hit the skids with this, whereas in the first couple weeks people were being creative and trying to exercise. 

We want to do two things: get people involved and support local businesses. We put together the True Grit Virtual Marathon. The idea is you get 1.5 miles of credit for every 30 minutes of exercise or self care that you do in the next two weeks — whether it’s a run, a high-intensity workout, prayer or meditation. We’re organizing teams of six with one team leader, usually instructors for the gym. They’ll check in every day with their team. There’s a personal goal of reaching 26.2 miles. If people get to a full marathon, they get a free True Grit t-shirt, and then they keep going for the big prize At the end of the two weeks, the team with the most miles will win a package of prizes with gift cards to local businesses in and around LynLake. We’ve got about 60 people signed up so far.


VOICES FROM THE PANDEMIC

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