Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

NNSL Photo/graphic

From left, full-time Racquet Club employees Dana Rud, administrative assistant; Spider Jones, squash pro; and Kelli Hinchey, general manager and majority owner, stand in one of the 25-year-old club's courts. The business has more than 800 members. - David Ryan/NNSL photo

A quarter century of squash

David Ryan
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 08/06) - After 25 years in business, the Racquet Club has much more to offer than just squash courts.

The club offers everything from yoga and spin classes to fitness training for its more than 800 members in a welcoming, family environment, said general manager and majority owner Kelli Hinchey.

"It's a one-stop shop. It doesn't mean you're getting any less quality," she said.

The facility opened in 1981 and has had two groups of owners before Hinchey and co-owners, Lauchie MacDonald and Shirley Johnson took over the business in 1997.

They have built a strong membership base since then, she said.

With the closure of Yellowknife's gold mines in the mid-1990s, the economy took a nosedive in Yellowknife and it was a "little bit of a struggle," said Hinchey.

By offering high-quality programs and diverse classes, the Racquet Club has continued to thrive, she said.

"Things have changed a ton," she said.

While there are constant upgrades to the facility and new equipment purchased regularly, it's the atmosphere that helps members feel welcome, said Hinchey.

"It's a warm, welcoming environment - almost a family- and team-oriented environment," she said.

A big part of creating a team environment are the 40 full- and part-time staff members including fitness instructors, personal trainers and child care workers.

"Staff take a lot of pride in a quality product," she said.

"Customer service is paramount.

Having an experienced and diverse staff adds to the club experience, said full-time squash pro Spider Jones.

Listening to Racquet Club members' concerns and being flexible enough to create new programs is something the club does exceptionally well, he said.

"We're only in business to offer what people want," Jones said. "We pride ourselves on offering the best classes."