In case you missed it, Morning Consult published an op-ed by Bryan Myers, who is the president and CEO of [solidcore] boutique fitness, calling on Congress to pass the GYMS Act and provide relief to community gyms and fitness studios. A key excerpt can be found below:
- It’s critical that Congress include the GYMS Act in the Democrats’ budget resolution. The bill would create a $30 billion grant program similar to those enacted for the restaurant and live entertainment industries, and would help keep our community alive.
A new survey found that 80 percent of gym owners say they are still struggling with the long-term financial impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey also found that 75 percent of owners say their revenue and active members have fallen since before the pandemic, and that 64 percent of owners have been forced to go into additional debt, with an average of $75,000 in new debt.
Over the last 16 months, nothing has become more clear than the importance of community. Showing up for those in your world when they need it. Friends, family, colleagues — we all needed each other to survive. And while this pandemic continues on and variants emerge, bringing more questions and fear of the unknown, I am here to give my support — and ask for help — for my community. The fitness community. With 20 percent of fitness facilities permanently closed due to the pandemic and many others on the brink, our industry is in desperate need of targeted government support in order to rebuild and continue to support the communities in which we operate.
As the chief executive of [solidcore] — a national boutique fitness studio that offers Pilates-inspired, small group classes in 20 states, Washington D.C. and 35 cities and to 46,000 clients across the country, I experienced firsthand the impact of COVID-19 on our business. In March of 2020, we were having our best month in the company’s history: 72 brick and mortar studios were open, our profits were the largest we’d seen, and we were on track to meet our goal of operating 100 studios by year end. On March 16, we shut all our doors, and on March 19, we laid off 98 percent of our staff and coaches.
The skeleton crew of 14 who stayed on — at reduced salaries — under the leadership of our founder and then-CEO Anne Mahlum (who took no salary at all) had no clue what the future held, but we fought harder than ever to keep our business afloat. And we weren’t the only ones. Our industry has lost more than 58 percent — $20 billion — of revenue since March 2020. With 1 in 5 fitness facilities closed permanently, 1.4 million workers in the industry — 44 percent — lost their jobs.
Read the full op-ed here.