The death of a business or the beginning of something new

This is the last week for my gym. It’s the end of an era. I’ve been a member, off and on, for 15 years.

The owner is retiring and moving on. The last day isn’t relevant because she moved on a while back. The signs were there.

The energy left the building. The exercise challenges disappeared. No birthday lists posted. Even the food drive was sad and uneventful.

New people left almost as soon as they signed up. It wasn’t hip. Or fun!

In the “old” days, there would be excitement. Things going on.

The gym is a circuit which means that you are on a piece of equipment for a limited time. There’s a cue and you move to the next one. I never got bored. I would never spend 20 minutes on one piece of equipment. Ever!

Nor could anyone hog one piece. Since everyone is moving there would be challenges. Additional specific exercises or changing direction. Something, anything to break the monotony. Gone.

There were special classes and those went away too.

There were employees to keep it open enough hours to satisfy both working women and retirees. There were early morning and evening hours and Saturday mornings. Over the last few years the hours changed as employees left and weren’t replaced. It’s hard for one person to staff a gym for all the hours that it should be open.

Saturdays were closed, then Friday afternoons. The closing time moved up in the evening and the opening time got later. People left as it didn’t fit their schedule.

Equipment wasn’t updated. Younger women left because of both hours and lack of challenge. Other gyms offer so much more for the same or less cost.

For long-term customers it was frustrating. Many of us drove to the gym only to find it closed unexpectedly. All dressed for exercise but nowhere to go.  (Thank God for Starbucks!)

The closings were due to illness. No one doubted that there were health issues but it was frustrating.  There was no backup. It was a family business but the family didn’t pitch in. Everyone had “real” jobs. No one was available.

As the client numbers dropped so did profits. Some of us stuck it out but many didn’t. It wasn’t worth selling. There was little value left. Equipment was old and tired. Building was rented. Client list too small to sell. Not much left at all.

Businesses run by one person are incredibly difficult. There is no margin for illness or anything.

There is a sadness but it’s also a beginning for all of us. I am encouraged to try new things. I’m looking forward to that! Maybe yoga? Maybe swimming?

Editor’s Note: This was written on my new computer. There are no pictures because I haven’t figured that out yet. It took longer but the computer did not end up in the pond….yet! We’ll see. One more week to decide if I keep it.

 

52 thoughts on “The death of a business or the beginning of something new

  1. Beloved institutions and associations seem to disappear almost overnight these days. We’ve been noting it with restaurants and grocery stores we’ve always enjoyed closing their doors, and typically with no explanation. I may understand that all things change, but I don’t always have to like it! I really enjoy my yoga practice and think you might enjoy giving that a try! Just remember that all classes aren’t the same, and you’d be able to find one that fits you perfectly! 🙂

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  2. I used to be a Circuit Trainer at Curves. It closed about a year after Ieft. I remember the owner struggling to make a profit. There was a core group, like what you describe, that really enjoyed the social aspect of it. But many other members would come and go. It wasn’t my favorite job, but I was so fit! Those machines were great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seeing a friendly face goes a long way to get me there. The first time I joined I was still working. I’d go at lunch or right after work. It got to be hard or maybe I got tired of the running around. For the last 5 years I think the owner was just “getting by.” She has a host of medical conditions and once she hit retirement age, she wanted to go. I was the youngest in my “time slot.” 🙂 Many were close to 80.

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        • Emmaus Yoga is an Ashtanga based yoga studio. It focuses on body alignment and strength in a pre subscribed and regimented way. It can be a rigorous and challenging for older students coming to yoga. If you want to take control of your body and take it to its limits, then it’s spot on.
          Not for me however. Yoga is about tuning in to you body and moving ina way that opens and supports you.
          I also think that $5 is a ridiculously low charge for a class, unless there is an inexperienced yoga teacher wanting to get her hours in…. or it is part of a Y setup where there rely on high numbers.
          Check them both out. Be careful of what is expected of you in your body, mind and spirit.
          There is no right way in yoga. Just the right way for you🙏

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for the information. I was looking for an easy way to try. Balance can be a challenge for me so I’m not looking for “weird” stuff. I may give them both a try since they both offer drop in classes without long term commitment. I’m not sure how big a class it is or even what the right size for a class is. There is another studio even closer to me (across the street from Starbucks 🙂 ) but they do hot yoga and hammocks. One of my senior friends tried and though she was going to die! I’m pretty sure you weighed in on that one a while back. I’ll keep you posted.

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  3. When one door open….

    I’m surprised hey didn’t try to sell the business when there was still something to sell. They might have recouped something instead of letting it slowly deteriorate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They didn’t keep up with the changes. They never upgraded to new equipment so what they have is 20 years old and outdated. The member list is small and mostly people over 60 (no ones target group). Today was the last day so I went to wish her well. A group is moving to another gym that’s closer to me so I’ll look into that. Their equipment (as related to me) is electronic so you can increase the intensity to suit yourself. I see another door softly opening and it may involve a better workout although I’m set to continue my walks too.

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  4. How I sympathize. We lost a beloved Curves gym here. The closing dispersed all the regulars including me. The alternative here is the YMCA where I occasionally see old friends from Curves who all still miss it. I hope you find something else that is satisfactory Kate.

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    • Curves seems to be dying out on the east coast. Locally we have quite a few gyms but most are “standard” rather than circuits. We all said we would get together for lunch. I hope that happens. There is only one person that I have contact info for. We’ll see.

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  5. My insurance provides free membership to the Y where there is a Silver Sneakers class every morning during the week. The classes vary depending on the instructor. Some emphasize weights, and others cardio or resistance. The Tuesday class is called Chair Yoga, but we do very little sitting (unless you need to.) We work on traditional yoga poses, but don’t do floor work on a mat. I enjoy having coffee with friends before class and sometimes lunch after. I’m sure I am in better condition now than when I retired 8 years ago!

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  6. I’m not a gym person, so I’m happy that you are walking and might continue for a while. Water aerobics classes are offered at our rec center, and they would be free for me. I can’t make myself go! It’s so much easier to roll out of bed, throw on yesterday’s clothes, and walk to the creek. Coffee, though made at home, is waiting for me when I walk in the door. I hope you find exercise that will be very pleasing. Good luck with the computer, too. It is not an easy thing to break yourself in. Those machines have no feelings, but they certainly can attack yours.

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  7. Here in Edmonds we had the death of one of my favorite businesses, Baicha Tea Room. It was a lovely place, clean, beautifully decorated, hundreds of teas, lunch, snacks, tables upstairs, stuffed chairs circling low tables downstairs. It was on a main street, a couple of blocks from the middle of town. But we have more coffee than tea drinkers in town. The center of town supports four coffee places that I can think of.

    Baicha was run by a young Thai woman with the help of her family. Service never went down, but it was obvious she had more energy than running a tea shop provided, and her kids are school age now.

    I like coffee, but I prefer tea. Now I have to order tea bags in a coffee shop, I guess, or make my own at home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I worked in our local town, we would get various coffee or tea shops with homemade snacks. Somehow they never lasted long. This was back in the day when coffee was just coffee and there wasn’t all the fancy stuff. Even with businesses surrounding it, they had a hard time surviving.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m like you…won’t exercise without being held accountable somehow. The personal trainer has been a real help…two years of twice a week and counting. Exercises are different each time which keeps me from getting bored. Still lazy, but not bored!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s sad when something familiar ends, but often that end brings with it new beginnings that you would have never experienced otherwise. It sounds like you are well on your way with alternative exercise regimes… the important thing is not to stop.

    I had no idea that the Chromebook was so different… Online? No delete key? Yikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh dear, that’s a shame but I’m sure you will find other exercise you enjoy. You’ve made a good start with the walking. I enjoy going to the gym and can do far more now than when I was younger. However, it is tricky to keep up the motivation especially when changes happen. My gym has recently put their prices up (a lot) which is irritating. You may find doing a set of exercises a good idea (squats, lunges, pressups, etc) and will keep you going. Have fun! 🙂

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    • My problem is that I won’t do exercises at home. Exercise completely bores me and I find any excuse (including nothing) to stop me. It works if I do something outside the home. The key with the old gym was the people were interesting.

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        • A Chromebook. It’s all on-line. For the most part WordPress is the same except I use the old blog writing screen and I can’t find it. Most issues I have are with keyboarding. No delete key, keys don’t register (or my fingers are weird). I find the top row keys take a harder hit than the rest. That maybe my hand but it’s something I need to get used to. The key spacing is different too. All of my photos are saved on my hard drive. I need to figure out a space to put them where they are accessible to both computers. I do like the size (it’s 11.6″ screen) which is just right to carry around. I’ve figured out Google docs but email is eluding me. I should be able to get directly from my carrier on the internet but there is a password issue. Everything takes extra thinking.

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    • I think that’s a good thing. I’m not a machine person. We have a treadmill that I rarely use. I have been walking early for 3 weeks now and loving it. I have an indoor place I can walk too. Looking forward to trying yoga and I found a place that has $5 classes (not sure I would do at home, not at all disciplined!). We’ll see. If one thing doesn’t work, I’ll try something else.

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  11. great that the computer works fine… if it will no fly through the closed window within the first 24 hours, it is a good machine :o)
    I agree with you it is some sadness included when something ends… but it opens new doors and I’m sure you will find the most wonderful thing you can do now…

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    • There is one close by too. I’m thinking of doing a mix. Walking, maybe yoga and maybe something else rather than a gym. I bore easily with exercise so it has to be something I enjoy or at least like.

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