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With fundraising victory, Cappy’s Boxing Gym not going down without a fight

 Ravel Scheiner eyes her rival during a training session at Cappy’s Boxing Gym. (Photo: Peter Allen Clark)

Ravel Scheiner eyes her rival during a training session at Cappy’s Boxing Gym. (Photo: Peter Allen Clark)

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.

Margaret Savas, one of Cappy’s coaches, leads a class in some ground work before getting back to the bags. (Photo: Peter Allen Clark)

Margaret Savas, one of Cappy’s coaches, leads a class in some ground work before getting back to the bags. (Photo: Peter Allen Clark)

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

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6 thoughts on “With fundraising victory, Cappy’s Boxing Gym not going down without a fight

  1. Let me understand here. Cappy’s presumably is a for-profit business whose owners have made business mistakes. Whatever changes they cite have been long in the making and not something that took place in the last year or two.

    The solution is not to ask for handouts from the public, but to ensure that your revenue exceeds your costs. This takes place by novel ideas such as charging more from users, most of whom can afford an increase like they see in the rest of their lives. If you can’t finance your business, then it likely is not viable and it might be time to close. If you want donations from the community, convert to a 501C-3 charity and then seek donations.

    Or sell shares in the business to those who are financing it with and for you. Are the donors now official and legal shareholders?

    Cappy’s and the staff sound like fine people doing great work. But many businesses likewise are full of similar attributes, but they turn to investors or banks for financing if they can’t pay as they go. I am really tired of seeing Kickstarter campaigns by businesses that are often asking for handouts but when and if profits occur, the owners will happily enjoy them and not return them to their ‘investors’. What Cappy’s may need more then money is some sound business advice from seasoned entrepreneurs, accountants or both. Show someone your metrics – the numbers including revenues and costs, the trends, the history and projections. I bet that there are any number of actions that can help improve the situation short of asking for money as they are doing.

    • It’s just a new way of doing business. The brick-and-mortar banks place heavy burdens on borrowers, and set the terms themselves. This is a democratic way of funding, with people in the community deciding on the greater value of the institution. It isn’t as if Cappy’s is not giving back; they’re expanding in kind to community outreach programs.

      • I agree! It is a type of micro-lending that understands that helping sustain a small business that benefits the neighborhood benefits everyone in the neighborhood. It is actually a very old business practice.

    • I don’t really see the harm in a business raising funds this way – if people aren’t willing to support it, it won’t be a successful campaign. Asking people to step up with efforts to keep a valued business in the neighborhood is neither new nor a bad thing. Ever seen It’s a Wonderful Life? (I’m kind of kidding, but it’s true).

  2. I guess I don’t really understand how they are having financial difficulties… my friend used to go there, and I went a few times with him pretty recently. Their classes were always packed – that’s actually the reason we don’t go very often anymore. I mean, this article says they have 300 regulars!

    That studio is tiny (like 2,000 sqft) and it’s partially in a residential area – the rent can’t be that much. Boxing gyms don’t exactly have high overhead either – they don’t have excessively nice equipment, and they don’t have open gym hours so they’re not paying employees to sit around. So what the heck are they spending all their revenue on? Are all those customers getting in for free?

    I’m glad the campaign worked out and clearly lots of people care about the place to support it, but, something just doesn’t make sense here.

  3. I think Cappy’s is a huge positive in our neighborhood and on my own street. I’m glad that it’s going to stick around. I do have one complaint though, customers of Cappy’s need to respect the people that live on this street. Don’t park like an asshole! You know who you are!