When Colorado Governor Jared Polis ordered all gyms closed last week amid the COVID-19 pandemic, that meant that Snap Fitness in Pueblo West would adhere to that order.


Snap owner Matt Smith understands the severity of the situation, and said he understands why the measure was taken.


“I would be lying if I did not think it was scary,” Smith, the owner of Snooze Mattress Company in Pueblo West and Vice President of the Pueblo West Metro District Board, said. “But, I personally think if it saves or protects one life, it is worth it.”


Smith is passionate about his community.


Proceeds from Snap and Snooze are put back into various efforts throughout Pueblo West. He said he’s nervous about how closure will impact the economy in Pueblo West, but hopes we can learn and still help people from the situation.


“I am optimistic that we will learn a lot from this and make many changes in our direction and be much stronger in the long run,” he said. “Again, I can’t stress the importance of a human life and how if we can save as many through these drastic measures, it was all worth it.”


While the gym is closed, employees are still hard at work.


Smith said Snap is “doing all (it) can to continue to support our employees that depend on this income.” Many staff members are helping to redo the entire gym. When members and visitors come to Snap upon reopening, Smith said the facility will be vastly improved.


Employees are doing extra training during this time; and some personal training is still offered digitally with classes on Facebook live offered daily.


“My goal is to give the members the best experience I can even now that they cannot come in the facility,” he said. “We’re thinking outside the box to keep everyone motivated, and have a new ‘Wow’ experience when they return to the facility.”


Smith employees more than 30 people. He estimates that about 19-percent of Pueblo (approximately 27,000 by his calculations) are gym members.


He knows the closure is impacting hundreds in the community.


Smith said that his team at Snap is like a “second family.”


“Most of them have been with us for years,” Smith said. “There is not much I would not do for them in these times. I will support them in any way I possibly can: before this, throughout this situation; and after it all passes.”


Meanwhile, Snooze Mattress Company -- located next door to Snap -- is still open.


The store will remain open until ordered otherwise.


“We have seen a major change in traffic, but also have seen many locals that really want to continue to support and are needing a good night sleep,” Smith said.


Snooze opened on Black Friday this past November and offers state-of-the-art technology to help customers gain the best night sleep possible.


During the COVID-19 outbreak, Smith and Snooze employees are hard at work offering great customer care and keeping the store clean.


“We are taking every precaution possible, from cleaning all day, to sleep napkins to prevent any germs, and now we are setting appointments where we can clean before you arrive and you're the only one in the store so you know you are safe,” Smith said. “We will keep social distance the entire process, but still get you the best experience possible.”


As a member of the PWMD board, and with close ties to the Pueblo West Chamber, Smith said he’s working with others in Pueblo West; County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz and Pueblo Mayor NIck Gradisar to help Pueblo West.


“Our goal is to get the right information needed to help everyone get through these tough times,” Smith said. “There are SBA loans available with very low interest rates, and we need to see them in front of as many Pueblo businesses as possible as soon as possible.


“This could be the difference of some businesses being able to survive this blow.”


During these times, Smith remains optimistic.


He said that times are tough, but we can all endure.


“Yes, life is a little crazy right now and it may get harder before it gets easier,” he said. “We will get kicked in the teeth, but we will get up. We need to take this as a blessing in disguise and find the good in the situation. We need to take this time to enjoy our families, meditate, read, go on walks and do all those things you’ve wanted to do or putoff for so long.


“The corona virus is out of our control, but what is in our control is our attitude and how we react to the situation. We should continue to love one another, be empathetic and stay positive. Tomorrow is going to be a great day if we make it one.”


LLyons@chieftain.com


Twitter: @luke_lyons14