Westporter Amy Hochhauser started JoyRide in 2011. For 10 years, she has nurtured and grown the popular cycling studio. She writes:
Founding JoyRide is one of the highlights of my life. In addition to the incredible community of riders, many of whom I count as close friends, it’s been tremendously rewarding to employ so many amazing people, in Connecticut and Texas. The JoyFamily is remarkable.
In addition to providing workouts, our team has always been committed to using our platform for good. To date, we’ve helped various charitable organizations raise over $750,000 for their causes. This brings us immense JOY.
But times are tough. This year, we’ve had to close two of our beloved Connecticut studios just to survive — and we’re still struggling to make ends meet.
After months of mandatory closures and capacity restrictions, the reality is — despite being allowed to open at full capacity — social distancing requires us to limit the number of customers we can serve. Our business model was not meant to function with only 12-15 customers per class.
Most of our landlords have been great. A few, not so much. And as a female-founded, independent small business, we struggle to get the support and attention of some of our larger competitors.
We’ve had to guarantee many of our obligations personally. Despite believing that we’ve banked enough good karma to avoid this fate, when your landlord is a public company, good vibes and fairness don’t get you very far.
But we are not alone. Thousands of gyms and studios (and many other small businesses) across the country struggle with the exact same fate. We can all forecast a horizon in 2022 where things get better, but to get to that place, we need to survive the next 6 months.
If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that fitness and wellness are more important than ever. They combat not only obesity, diabetes and heart disease, but also the epidemic of loneliness and reliance on technology. We need to turn off the screens and sweat together! Human connection is a requirement for a JOYful life.
The Gym Mitigation and Survival (GYMS) Act — a bipartisan bill in Congress — would offer relief to health and fitness establishments. Most previous economic relief packages have either left out or not really helped the fitness industry.
If want to help, please click this link and ask our representatives to ask them to pass the GYMS ACT. We need all the help we can get.