The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on a number of vulnerable industries. Among the hardest hit have been health clubs, gyms, and cycling studios. Boutique studios have experienced some of the worst of it. Being small in both size and reach, boutiques are more likely to face serious financial consequences, including bankruptcy and closure.
In Washington, DC, one of the city’s most popular boutique cycling studios just announced bankruptcy. All four of its locations are being shuttered. They are not alone. Their story is being repeated by boutique studios all over the country. Smaller boutiques without the financial resources simply cannot compete with corporate health clubs and their seemingly bottomless pockets.
Is there anything you can do to help? The owners of Salt Lake City’s Mcycle studio say there is. Mcycle first opened just before the pandemic hit. They have survived thus far thanks to a nimble business model and the support of the local community. Below are a few things Mcycle says you can do to support a struggling boutique studio in your area.
Take Online Classes
Studios still unable to welcome guests back in person may be offering online classes. No, an online class isn’t exactly the same. You do not get the same environment of camaraderie and mutual support. But the flip side of that is being able to take a class in support of your favorite studio and instructor.
Moreover, online classes are better than not exercising at all. If the choice is between taking an online class and sitting on the couch binge-watching your favorite shows and eating chips, at least an online class gets you up and moving.
Lease a Studio Bike
Some studios have decided to take advantage of social distance restrictions by leasing out unused bikes. That accomplishes two things. It frees up space for socially distant in-person classes and it prevents the bikes from sitting around unused. Studios can make a little extra money as well.
You might consider leasing a bike so that you can take online classes. A lease gives you access to a piece of top-of-the-line equipment without requiring you to spend hundreds of dollars on a purchase. You and the studio both win.
Tell Others About the Studio
During these times, the best thing you can do for your favorite studio is to tell others about it. Encourage your friends and family members to support the business by signing up for a class or two. If we truly are all in this together, then we owe it to our local businesses to support them with our dollars.
Take a Class When You Can
Finally, studios in some states have been allowed to reopen; some at limited capacity and others at full capacity. You can help by taking a class when you can. Maybe you’re unable to commit to two or three classes every week. Perhaps one class a month is all you can manage. That’s fine. One class is a bigger help to your local studio than you might imagine.
The corporate powerhouses that offer high-tech online classes are free to do business as they see fit. They have every right to aggressively market, sign up new students, and grab a larger market share. But remember that local businesses are the backbone of our economy. They are the backbone of our communities.
Would you consider supporting your local cycling studio? If so, the suggestions offered in this post give you a starting point. Do what you can to support a struggling boutique operation so that its owners can continue serving the community.