This week, a beloved fitness program run by a military spouse FOR other military spouses, reported that MWR was giving the contract to run their very successful program to another company. A lot has been said about this story over the past week. Below you will find words from the founder of DumBell Fitness, Christina Landry, and a letter from one of their members to MWR.
The military spouse community has a very strong voice when we want to help, protect or uplift one of our own. This week I have seen spouses from many different organizations support DumBell Fitness. I believe that is because it is not just about this story. The battle that this one military spouse run business is fighting is part of a bigger picture. Many military spouses, because of our unique lifestyle, have embraced entrepreneurship as a way to help support our families. Unemployment is high in our community, and many spouses decide to create their own opportunity when the military lifestyle limits the ones they may have otherwise. Starting your own business is a challenging endeavor. Not only has Christina created a successful business, she saw a need and filled it. Offering a fitness solution that also solved one of the biggest problems for military spouses during deployment: a childcare option. Not only that, but DumBell Fitness offers a program for military kids during their school breaks and a Hot Mama’s class for pregnant spouses. Filling a need, solving a problem… helping to empower military families.
MWR stands for Morale, Welfare and Recreation and it’s purpose is to serve the military and their families. I hope that they will reconsider their decision by realizing that keeping DumBell Fitness operating in it’s current capacity is the best decision for the very families they are serving, period. How can you help? You can follow their Facebook page here, you can share this story, and you can contact MWR at Joint Base Pearl Harbor and let them know that you support DumBell Fitness and want to see them do the same. Together, we can help this military spouse continue her mission to help other spouses and their families.
Here is the contact information so that you can make your voice heard:
[email protected] – Commander of JBPHH, Captain James,
[email protected] – JBPHH MWR Director, Thomas Jones
https://forms.house.gov/formsgabbard/webforms/email-me.shtml – Hawaii Congress Woman, Tulsi Gabbard
https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments – Corresponding with the White House
From Christina Landry, Founder of DumBell Fitness:
“DumBell Fitness is a boot camp fitness business on Joint Base Pearl Harbor military base that served over 200 military spouses with 7 different classes. We have over 20 military spouses workers and 100% of our clients are military spouses who take boot camp at a fraction of the price out in town. Along with low class cost, DumBell Fitness also provides FREE babysitting to all participants and the classes are held within military housing residential areas.
The Navy has pushed DumBell Fitness off base (we work out outside with our own equipment and MWR provides nothing in support) and awarded a boot camp contract to a non-military affiliated company, who will increase the price. When we contacted the Contracting Officer it was explained to us that our bid for the RFP for a Boot Camp Training class on base was not entertained because we did not meet the 15% Gross commission minimum. DumBell Fitness is a small, veteran/military spouse owned business with a small profit margin. 15% Gross commission is our entire profit margin. We offered Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam 5% Gross (33% of our profitable funds).
This has been a yearlong struggle with Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam. During our meetings with the JBPHH Commander, Captain James, the MWR Director, Thomas Jones, and Fleet and Family Support liaison, Theresa Phillips, last year DumBell Fitness was told the contract for Boot Camp Training would be awarded to the company that gave the overall best value. Not to, just the highest bidder.
We are urging JBPHH officials to reevaluate this Boot Camp Training contract. We have sent an appeal to the Commander of Base, Captain James, and implore him to view our bid as an overall value; not as a bottom line commission. DumBell Fitness has been operational on JBPHH for five years. Our business has channeled through and complied with all changing procedures on base thus far. Our argument is that our five-year long, strong and military spouse valued, presence on JBPHH brings more value to MWR, then contracting out a new company with zero clients on base. We have seven different Boot Camp Training classes on base at full capacity. Seven times 5% Gross equals more than zero times 15% Gross.”
From DumBell Fitness client, to MWR Director Thomas Jones
“Dear Mr. Jones,
I was extremely disappointed to hear the news today that DumBell fitness will no longer be able to operate on JBPHH property. I have been attending the program since Oct 2012 on Ford Island and have come to count on the consistently high quality, challenging and uplifting workouts. I originally sought out DBF because of the on-site babysitting services, something that is not available through MWR fitness centers. I also liked that the classes were conveniently located in a base housing neighborhood that was safe, had little traffic or noise and was within a short drive on my home at Makalapa. Over the last 20 months, DBF has not only helped me expand my fitness level but also helped me achieve life balance through stress relief and creating a sense of community with like minded women.
I want to voice my concern because it seems that the discontinuation of DBF on JBPHH is due to money. It seems that the impact of DBF on JBPHH’s overhead is minimal and the payment expected in return from DBF should be in line with this impact, not some arbitrary percentage of gross receipts. Since the restrooms, playgrounds and physical spaces used by DBF are managed by Forest City, it seems that there is almost no cost associated with the program that is absorbed by JBPHH.
Though I do not know all the details of the negotiations with the DBF business owner, I find it disheartening that MWR would be threatened by the success of a program that has meant so much to military spouses. I know many participants of DBF, like myself, are also frequent customers of MWR fitness facilities and programs. I know many women count on DBF as the primary source of fitness because of the childcare issue. Unfortunately, our location on Oahu makes it difficult to seek out other fitness opportunities that include babysitting due to traffic, expense and inconvenience. The nearest gym with childcare that I’m aware of is the 24 Hour Fitness in Pearl City, easily a 20 minute drive. Also, if someone wanted to take advantage of the drop in care at one of the CDC in order to utilize the base gym it would cost them $10 per day (I considered this when we first moved here but could not imagine paying $200/month to use the gym that should be free).
I can’t think of another case where I have felt passionate enough about a private business to come to their defense. I hope you will recognize the impact DBF has had on so many lives in the JBPHH community and reconsider the contract to allow them to continue to operate on base.
DumBell Fitness Client