SOUTH YARMOUTH – Despite freezing outside temperatures, it got hot on a Wednesday afternoon in late January at the Mid-Cape Athletic Club. The crack of tennis balls hitting racquets spread across the building as each court was full.
Tennis is considered to be one of the safest sports during the COVID-19 pandemic because it is conducive to social distancing and makes it popular in a time when most people are stuck at home.
Wearing masks, not sharing equipment and not shaking hands after the game or high five make the sport even safer.
“We’re 90% booked out,” said club owner Bob Majewski about his five tennis halls.
To meet the demand, the gym is being expanded. A 24,000-square-foot annex will house four more tennis courts, said Jennifer Majewski, Bob’s daughter.
The idea of the attachment precedes the pandemic and meets an ever-increasing demand for court time.
The annex, which will cost the business about $ 1 million, is expected to open as early as March. By the end of January, most of the walls had been built around the former outdoor tennis courts. The final step is to revive the courts.
The appendix will replace an outer bladder that was blown over in a spring snow storm three years ago. The family has since tried to make up for this loss.
Just as everything came together for the project at the beginning of the pandemic, the company ran into trouble getting a small business loan for the annex, Jennifer Majewski said. Since the state forced the club to close for three months, it couldn’t show what profits the bank was looking for and the loan was denied.
Eventually the family went to another bank that helped them borrow in October, and construction began in November.
The addition is urgently needed, said Bob Majewski. “It’s a way for people to keep exercising in a safe way.” Even if someone had done something else before, they returned to the sport, he said.
Jennifer Majewski’s brothers Sam and Nick, who teach tennis, say their classes were very popular with children in the Cape.
“These clinics are insane,” said Nick Majewski. “We have to turn people away more often than not.”
The Mid-Cape Athletic Club is a multi-purpose sports complex with a focus on tennis. It also has a fitness center with cardio machines and weights, a group exercise room, spinning and rowing studios, and a Pilates studio.
Even before the pandemic, the club had reached an all-time high, said Jennifer Majewski. The tennis courts and fitness classes are often full, she said.
However, due to capacity constraints during the pandemic, courses are limited to seven participants and the spinning studio is closed. Rowing, Pilates, and small group training courses are limited to two to three people.
January is usually a booming month in the fitness world, but with the limited capacity guidelines, fear of being indoors, and competition with fitness programs for home, the gym is thriving, said Jennifer Majewski.
Fortunately, tennis is still in high demand as it is a low risk sport during the pandemic. And the community of players the club has built over the years has remained loyal, she said.
This club is entering its 44th year, said Jennifer Majewski. The third generation family business was originally bought back in 1977 by her grandmother, father and uncle.
With plans to build an outdoor courtyard and additional rooms for outdoor exercise, the Majewskis hope to keep their members during these uncertain times.
The club also has an alcohol license and an upstairs restaurant. But since they don’t serve food, they had to close this area.
“Many regulars were disappointed not being able to stay and have a drink,” she said. It’s a socializing opportunity for many members and that has been taken away, she added.
Financially, the club is in a position to take on the expansion, the family said, although struggling other businesses or going out of business was scary.
“As long as it doesn’t get worse, we’ll be back to normal,” said Jennifer Majewski.
When it came to tennis, the numbers were “higher than ever,” she said.