Oregon Recreation Industry Remains Steady

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By Ken Niezgoda,
BIZ Reporter,

Even though health clubs in Oregon haven’t experienced the dramatic drop-off in consumer spending that has plagued the restaurant industry, Sherry Summerville of the Clackamas East Side Athletic Club feels the need to help families who are feeling the financial pinch. Summerville is opening up a free kids’ self-defense class once each month to any family in the community.

“We’ve been lucky enough to keep our classes going, even though there’s a recession,” said Summerville. “But I know we have families that regularly take classes through us who have lost jobs and income. I would hate to see parents have to tell their kids that they just can’t afford to pay for after school classes.”

Despite the recession, Oregon’s recreation industry is holding steady. While employment in the Food Services industry, particularly restaurants, has dropped off dramatically, Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation jobs have shown modest recent growth in Oregon, according to the current employment statistics from the Oregon Employment Department. Nearly 42 million Americans hold health club memberships, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association.

The trend demonstrates that, while consumers are cutting down on eating out, they’re still feeling the need for entertainment and recreation. It also indicates that money which consumers might typically spend on vacations is now being spent locally instead.

The free class at the Clackamas club is being offered one day a month to any family in the community, regardless of financial need or whether they’re gym members or not. Summerville sees this as an opportunity to help out families in need as well as maintain a presence in the community as consumer spending continues to tighten.

“The free class may bring in some new members, and it will help us position ourselves in the community for when the economy picks up,” said Summerville. “Most importantly, though, we can help some families that are struggling right now.”

The Clackamas East Side Athletic Club is located across from Clackamas Town Center and can be found on the web at http://www.eastsideathleticclub.com.