Aerial CLT supporters launch fundraising campaign to help keep business afloat amid pandemic struggles

Aerial CLT supporters launch fundraising campaign to help keep business afloat amid pandemic struggles

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Supporters and students of Aerial CLT have launched a fundraising campaign to help keep the unique fitness facility from closing it’s doors. The business is located just outside of uptown Charlotte on N. Tryon Street. Students come to Aerial CLT to learn and practice aerial art.

Amy Chirico, the owner of Aerial CLT, said her facility has been largely unused since being forced to close in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Rent is high because it is an amazing building and we’re lucky to have it, but without business we can’t pay for rent or the utilities, we have to keep it climate-controlled because our mats will start to mildew, our equipment will go bad,” explained Chirico in an interview with WBTV Wednesday night.

She said the business operates by offering instructional classes for people take, but no classes can be taught if the facility can’t be used. Chirico said online instruction hasn’t been a viable option either.

“Our students came here because they want to learn aerial. We can’t really teach online aerial classes because students have to have the equipment accessible to them,” said the business owner.

She explained that the entire operation has come to a halt because of the pandemic. This week Chirico informed her students and supporters that Aerial CLT would be closing indefinitely.

“We were kind of pulling our last straw. We weren’t able to go back to online classes. It wasn’t financially viable,” said Chirico.

Upon learning of the financial struggles, some Aerial CLT supporters were quick to jump in and help the business. After learning that the business would be closing indefinitely, student Madelinne Krenn helped launch a GoFundMe page to raise money for Aerial CLT.

“I don’t get to come here and get the support and the community I’ve had for two and a half years and the exercise is great and the mental health aspect is great, but really the community I come here for has been the hardest for me,” Krenn told WBTV in an interview.

She said didn’t realize how much the business was struggling until Chirico notified students about the indefinite closure.

“Anything I can do to help this studio that has been here for me and where I’ve made friends and where I’ve had a lot of accomplishments and really gained a lot of self-esteem and confidence in myself, why would I want that to go away? Of course I want them to stay,” said Krenn.

In just one day, the GoFundMe page has helped to raise more than $14,000 for Aerial CLT. Chirico is thankful for all the support the business has received from students and anonymous donors.

“I mean, I’ve been crying like constantly,” said Chirico. “That’s what matters. If the community sees us as something they want around and they’re willing to help us get through that when the government isn’t really providing that much assistance, then yeah it gave me a second wind to just keep pushing. I was quite at a loss and that love really helped.”

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.