Coronavirus impact: San Ramon gymnastics owner sells family's 100-year-old house to keep gym open

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Sunday, August 2, 2020
Bay Area gymnastics owner selling family's 100-year-old house to keep gym open
The president of Diablo Gymnastics in San Ramon is selling her great grandfather's house in the Midwest in an attempt to stay financially afloat to keep the gym open.

SAN RAMON, Calif. (KGO) -- President of Diablo Gymnastics in San Ramon is selling her great grandfather's house in the Midwest in an attempt to stay financially afloat.

Diablo Gymnastics had 1,500 gymnasts and 43 coaches before COVID-19. Today there's roughly 42 gymnasts and 3 coaches.

Michelle Klimesh bought the gym in 1979, she started out as a student when she was 13 years old.

"I've been in all the positions, I was a child at Diablo. I had my career as a gymnast at Diablo, I started coaching, then I bought the business from my coach," Klimesh said.

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Since the pandemic hit, they've reduced their monthly payroll from roughly $80,000 to $12,000.

"We felt fortunate we have no debt, we didn't start with debt -- I'm in debt now. If we don't get the gymnastics school open I'm going to end up $300,000 dollars in debt on top of losing the $280,000 I've already spent," Klimesh said.

She said the PPP loan only went so far because of all the restrictions.

"My PPP funded on April of 24, we're still not open," Kilmesh said. "It's August. I'm supposed to pay payroll for people to do nothing I need that money for people to do something when we get back. We probably won't get it forgiven because the terms of it are rehiring our whole staff back on a certain date -- they extended that date from June 30 to Dec. We're not going to be able to hire our whole staff back. We're not going to get 1,500 children back in the door magically on Monday of next week."

Earlier this week, they created a gofundme account. Klimesh said she was reluctant to do months ago.

"Now we're in month number five with no end in sight. So we cry a lot. We worry, we look at numbers, we try and we try things," Klimesh said.

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This weekend she's in Spillville, Iowa where she's selling her great grandfather's house he built in 1910.

"My dad and I bought the house about 20 years ago, it's been in the family since 1910. My grandparents owned it, their daughters owned it, then my aunt Sedonia owned it, it's just been passed to family member to family member," Klimesh said.

She said it's time to liquidate assets.

"We're doing the Hail Mary pass now, just what can we do possible to stay afloat," Klimesh said.

Klimesh feels the gym is worth fighting for.

"We use gymnastics to teach them that - just because you can't do it today doesn't mean you're not going to do it tomorrow or next month or next year. How to set those goals and preserver through all the pain and the fear and the hard work," Klimesh said.

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Klimesh thinks they have September and possibly October before they're forced to close their doors.

"I can only see until October right now. In May I couldn't see June and in June I couldn't see August at all. Every month is perseverance we just keep trying"

She's willing to sell other assets if she has to.

"It's worth fighting for, I don't know if it's worth going hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt for. I have other assets to sell, if I have to I will," Klimesh said.

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