Fast forward to March 13: grave concerns surrounding the spread of Covid19 forces me to cancel group classes indefinitely. Three days later on March 16th, CT Governor Lamont signed an executive ordering the closure of fitness studios effect March 17th. I felt like the world was falling down around me. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I was scared for my family, my clients, myself. How can we stay safe? I was having a moment of analysis paralysis, not knowing what to do next.
Two weeks later, Group Classes resumed via Zoom. It took about 4 weeks for virtual Private Sessions to gain traction. Our busy studio which taught 80-90 Private Sessions a week was now teaching 10- 15 Private Sessions a week.
This is an incredibly challenging moment for any small business owner. All of the MBC instructors are independent contractors. I am relieved many benefits are available to them due to the extreme nature of the pandemic. I have applied for support too; the wait is long. In some cases instructors have decided to find their own solutions by creating their own online businesses outside of the Studio.
I begin thinking about shutting the doors to the studio permanently. At this time, it’s been two months of the studio being closed to in-person sessions, with no end in sight.
Word arrives that Phase II of the reopening plan will go into effect on June 17th. MBC Pilates may reopen then. Preparations begin. Fingers are crossed that nothing will go wrong. In the meantime, I’ve given a lot of thought to how I’ve run the business in the past, what changes I need to make to be more flexible in the future based on a new reality - I could be shut down again with an uptick in Covid19 cases at any time.
I make the decision to change the business model of the studio. In the past, I’ve been the gatekeeper for all of the instructors but I have now created a co-op of independent Movement Professionals. I will continue to maintain the studio and all equipment, but now each Instructor will handle all the other aspects of running their individual practices.
I am excited about this new format as it will attract more instructors from various forms of fitness who are seeking an amazing space to work. The new co-op format also allows current instructors to manage their clients during difficult times, booking private space and following all CDC Guidelines for Health and Safety.
I’m looking forward to expanding the class offerings at MBC Pilates and will be sure to update you on our upcoming schedule.
Hope to see you all soon!!!