A five-person group has assumed control of Yellowknife’s Racquet Club from former owner Kelli Ann McKim.
The change, announced to members on Friday, formally took place on Sunday, May 1. The new owners are Karen Depew, Devin Madsen, Avery Parle, Scott Maclean and Rob Warburton.
“I’ve been working here for eight years and the only way to go up was ownership,” Madsen told Cabin Radio. “I had always told Kelli I wanted to be an owner at some time and, when she came to Karen and myself, we took the opportunity.
“As we looked at the bigger picture, we needed some support to make it work. That’s when we started to reach out to other sources, to get a team together.”
Madsen said Maclean, Parle and Warburton would provide business management insight while Madsen and Depew continue to run the club’s day-to-day operations.
“We’ve become like a family here, working together,” said Depew, who has also been at the Racquet Club for eight years.
“My kids work out here, my son plays squash here. The Racquet Club is a really big part of our lives and we wanted to continue to be a part of it.
“We’re looking at updating the building, new programming, new equipment. I also look forward to focusing on the family aspect of the Racquet Club because I think that’s what makes us unique. Seeing our members be excited is what will make this wonderful.”
In an email to members, McKim confirmed the sale.
“It is a bittersweet time for me as the club has been a part of my life since 1986,” she wrote.
“I am proud of what has been accomplished during this time and could not have done this without your loyalty and support.
“I am fully confident that the new owners will continue to move the club forward and provide an incredible environment in which you can carry out your workouts and socialize, and I wish them much success.”
“I’ve got to thank Kelli,” said Madsen. “At the beginning of my career she was a big driver, she had a big influence on me and I really appreciate it.
“We have a really good base but I think a lot of potential is still untapped here, and with this group we’ll be able to give a great experience to all of our members.”
Spinathon raises more than $10,000
The new owners discussed the move as an annual spinathon took place to raise money for the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation.
More than $10,000 was raised for the foundation on Saturday as residents spent hours occupying 17 of the club’s spin bikes.
Catherine Ardiles, a nursing instructor who organized the spinathon for the fourth consecutive year, said the event focused on mental health – and the positive impact of eased pandemic restrictions had been evident.
“You just hear people talking around the club about how happy they are to be back,” Ardiles said. “Isolation has been hard for people. I think everyone’s glad it’s summer and we’re getting back into it.”
Kristal Melanson, chair of the Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation, thanked the club for a “fantastic turnout” and said the money raised would be split between the hospital’s psychiatry and pediatrics units.
“We’re not really sure what they have on their wish list yet but we’re excited to see what they come up with,” Melanson said. She expects some of the money will go toward improvements for the deck attached to the psychiatry unit.
As the latest set of spinners hauled themselves wearily away from the equipment, Ardiles expressed enthusiastic support for the club’s new owners.
“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “I’ve worked with Karen and Devin, I know the other owners as well. I’ve loved working for Kelli for years. It’s going to be a smooth transition and I’m happy for Kelli that she’s enjoying something else, and super-happy for Karen, Devin and the new owners.”