After nearly 15 years of supporting Central Seattle’s boxing community, Cappy’s Boxing Gym asked for some online help in return. This summer, they go it.
After facing some recent financial setbacks, owner Cappy Kotz said his 22nd and E Union gym had joined a long line of businesses which have found the raised rents and changing social dynamics of Capitol Hill and the Central District difficult to weather.
So, in order to expand the business and prepare for the future, Cappy’s Boxing Gym began an Indiegogo fundraising project on June 1. The campaign asked for $15,000 to help “continue to produce Olympic caliber athletes and transform lives,” with much of the money going towards marketing. Last week, donors answered the call, raising just over $15,000 well before the July 1st deadline. Coach Ann Bailey said she was overwhelmed with the response.
“We kind of knew something special was happening,” Bailey said. “We were really moved by what people had to say about our gym.”
With development moving into Cappy’s actual back yard, the fundraiser was meant to buffer the business from an uncertain future and possibly stage a move into one of the new buildings.
“We’re looking at that pressure coming down the hill towards us,” Bailey said.
While Cappy’s has met its goal, another Seattle institution is still seeking help to bolster their Capitol Hill offerings. SIFF recently launched a fundraising campaign to help restore The Egyptian Theatre.
With corrugated metal siding holding up the walls, flanked by a community pea patch, Cappy’s Boxing Gym has a robust exterior that stands the test of time. At least that’s what founder Kotz hopes.
“People today are demanding more self awareness in their fitness from yoga and Pilates,”
Katz said, seated on a folding chair, holding the leash of the gym’s big, brindle mascot dog. “We provide that. Our clients know that but it’s time we’ve marketed that.”
He said the gym doesn’t stop at boxing training. Kotz said the gym offers fitness, recreation, competitive training and life coaching as well. On top of marketing what the gym can offer, the money raised will also go to help train the coaches to provide a greater competitive edge.
Kotz said Cappy’s has helped shaped many national boxing contenders and a great number in the community. Notably, the gym trained 2012 Olympics contender Quanitta ‘Queen’ Underwood for years.
Bailey is a prime example of how Cappy’s Gym hopes to shape lives. She has worked full time in the gym for five years, but began at the same level as everyone else.
“I started out as a client, but I ended up quitting my job to become a full time coach here,” she said. “We have four coaches who left the corporate world to come teach here.”
Over time, Bailey noticed her life changing from gym attendance.
“It was great stress relief and I got in really good shape,” she said. “It translated really well into my life. The more I saw that translate into my personal life, the more I started training.”
At times, sitting outside the gym speaking with Kotz and Bailey felt like a staged event. Students filed in to the evening class and both the owner and the longtime coach greeted each by name, familiar and friendly.
That sort of casual warmth reflects the inside of the gym. With a well-maintained wooden interior, bright lighting and a general cleanliness, Cappy’s is just as welcoming as its owner. Kotz estimated that the gym had around 300 regular attendees and remains committed to invest in their well being.
Bailey said the gym recently expanded to offer free community life skills programs, covering basic tool use, house maintenance, car maintenance and first aid.
“Historically, boxing gyms have done that sort of community outreach,” she said. “They are a hub of the community.”
Cappy’s is located at 1408 22nd Ave. You can learn more at cappysgym.com.