Harbor Athletic Club and Canvas Club Boxing members ask owner to continue charging membership fees amid shutdown so staff can get paid

In the midst of stress and upset due to businesses shutting down, these clients know their love and support goes a long way
Boxing comes back to University of Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. — Harbor Athletic Club and Canvas Club Boxing owner Melissa Ernst told News 3 Now that after 36 years in business, her business is now completely shut down and will be likely be furloughing its staff of more than 200 employees in the coming weeks.

“It is devastating,” Ernst said. “We are asking for Madisonians to be looking out for each other these next months and supporting everything local as much as possible. Although this situation is devastating we have some heartwarming stories that have come out of this.”

Ernst said she has received an outpouring of support from her clients and shared what one of her clients said to her in an email:

“THANK YOU for providing an atmosphere and spirit that is/was so very integral to promoting and preserving the health of our teenagers. I honestly believe that for far more than a few teens HAC has had as much (perhaps even more) impact on their health, ambitions, dreams and safety as any other institution they grew up with. For Eliot, Harbor’s positive impact on his adolescent development was immeasurable. I am profoundly appreciative. Although my dedication is but a fraction of Eliot’s, I do look forward to the doors reopening soon!

PS: I also find it truly remarkable that across 14 years I have never once left Harbor after a workout without receiving appreciative acknowledgement from the front staff. Even when engrossed in various other obligations amidst the hustle and bustle that can descend upon them in waves, I am sure, someone has always wished me well upon leaving. This is unheard of anymore. The front end folks live and breath customer service. How this sense of genuine good will (and good business) is sustained amazes me. Well done!”

Ernst said she has received many emails from clients asking to continue charging them membership fees so the staff can continue to get paid during the shutdown.

“It’s pretty incredible. What a beautiful city we live in. Madisonians  are loving, strong and resilient. We will get through this if we stick together!”

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