Local couple try to achieve dream and grow gym amid outbreak

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) — When there’s no organized sports to be played, no games, no practices, where are athletes likely to turn? A gym. Here in Tupelo, a couple had a dream to provide a place for local athletes to work out. Late last year, the dream came true.

“It just worked out, everything just fell into place and its been a blessing ever since,” Co-owner Nathan Chapman said.

Nathan Chapman, a construction worker, and his wife Chelsea, a personal trainer, opened up Mississippi Mecca back in late September. Members like Cade Stroggins and Chris Neal joined up to support a couple of locals living out their dream.

“I love to support local business,” Stroggins said.  “It’s amazing to support people like Nathan and Chelsea.”

“When this opened up, it was old school to me, great equipment,” Neal said.  “It’s awesome, a lot more people are going to bigger places, why don’t we go to the smaller places and keep our community going.”

The mecca got off to a slow start, but after the new year, they doubled their memberships in January, and tripled their memberships in February. But March brought the coronavirus. Some states are closing gyms. That may be fine for nationally branded gyms, but this comes right in the middle of the Mecca’s growth spurt.

“Man, I never saw anything like this coming, it’s wild,” Chapman said. “Hopefully they’ll have a kind of idea how we can handle the bill situation because I know if they shut us down, we’ll still have bills rolling in.”

A small business, a dream. But they aren’t going to let the virus get in the way of maintaining the mecca’s potential.

“Well we’re not going to stop, we’re going to keep pushing forward,” Chapman said. “We have faith that we’ll continue to grow and until they make us shut down we’re going to stay open and give everybody a place, clean, to work out.”