Making an impact: Trottier struggling to recoup cost of rent at boxing gym
Most boxing gyms won’t win any awards for interior design.
Grand Junction’s Impact Boxing Gym at 518 Colorado Ave., is right in the heart of downtown in a brick building with murals of boxing greats Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali painted on the side.
On the inside, it’s a gym with two skylights, a brick wall on one side and a cinder block wall on the other. There’s a boxing ring, a cage for mixed martial arts and plenty of punching bags and speed bags for a fighter to work on his craft.
But if things don’t turn around for the 12-year-old gym, it might have to close its doors for a while.
It costs Impact manager Alex Trottier $1,000 a month to rent the building, and it’s hard to recoup that fee since many of the 150 fighters who train out of Impact don’t pay to use the equipment.
Trottier charges a fee of $5 per training session and $40 per month, but the 30-year boxing veteran understands if someone doesn’t have the funds to pay.
“Kids that come in here aren’t going to be riding in a fancy car,” Trottier said. “The biggest majority will come from the lower class, most don’t have much, don’t have money to play sports in high school and those are the kids we have in here.”
The financial plight was a big reason for putting on Saturday’s CageRaiser at Two Rivers Convention Center. The fights featured nine local fighters, and all the proceeds from the fights benefit Impact Boxing, a nonprofit organization.
“We are turning everything back into Impact Boxing so they can continue moving on,” Trottier said. “We are going to do a CageRaiser 2 in the summer and see if we can’t save up enough to get at least a couple years’ rent.”
Trottier doesn’t make a salary at Impact when he trains fighters five evenings a week. Much of the money Impact brings in is used to help fighters travel to events.
“We take them all over the place with what little we make,” Trottier said. “There might be a world champion coming into this gym daily, and they have to get out and fight people to find out.”
But it’s not only getting fighters experience, it’s providing a safe haven for kids who might be struggling. Trottier said he’s taken in plenty of troubled teens who found an outlet in the ring.
“We’ve had kids brought over by school counselors because they were getting into a lot of trouble,” Trottier said. “You can leave it all in the ring. Once you fight, your temper goes down. It calms a wild man down.”
Tom Bolger is the owner of 8th Street Gym, and met Trottier 10 years ago when Bolger was a budding MMA fighter looking for someone to help in his stand-up game. Since that time, Bolger put down his own gloves and opened his gym. Bolger said it’s important to have a place like Impact, where fighters can train for free.
“Thanks to Alex we are very lucky because Grand Junction has the unique opportunity to train with fighters for free,” Bolger said. “That’s very rare.”
Local fighters echo Bolger. Jason Brenton is a 23-year-old MMA fighter on the way up in the fight world. Brenton is 6-0 as a professional MMA fighter, and started coming to Impact in 2007.
“I love this gym and I’d do anything to keep this gym,” Brenton said. “They’ve always had my back in everything. They’ve paid for me to travel to fights if I didn’t have the money and did everything they could for me.”