It isn’t how Ife Obi first envisioned teaching fitness classes when she opened her boutique studio in Brooklyn. But, when a global pandemic forces a lockdown, and gyms are forbidden from opening, you improvise.
“We've had to pivot to online videos, on-demand videos, now that it's summertime, taking people outdoors," said Obi.
Obi now meets clients at Decatur Playground in addition to offering online, keeping the doors to The Fit In closed for now. She launched the business two years ago to bring health and wellness to Bed Stuy. Now she’s trying everything to stay afloat.
What You Need To Know
- With gyms forbidden from opening, some fear going out of business
- Warm weather allows gyms to offer classes outdoors
- Studio owners hold out hope for help to carry them through
“When COVID happened and when we we’re only offering the on-demand classes, we were down 95 percent in revenue, so it took just a lot of my own kind of personal hustle and luckily I have other work, to keep this thing going,” said Obi.
The financial pinch is familiar to other fitness businesses, like Urzua Queens Center for Performing Arts in Jackson Heights which now offers outdoor Zumba classes.
“It's helping us on a day-by-day basis but we still have a lot of way to go,” said owner Lily Urzua. “Nothing is for sure, if it rains we're going to have to cancel, if it starts to get cold later in the fall or the winter, we don't know when this is going to be over.”
They've started a go fund me to keep their business and sole-source of income alive.
"I just hope that we can open the studio back up and allow more people to come in and to be safe," said Urzua
Obi, who opened her third location just as the city was ordered into lockdown, says she's gotten a grant and dipped into savings to keep going, but she's determined to find a way to survive.
“My hope is that it doesn't go into 2021 because then we seriously have a problem, but to be honest, I will hustle as much as I can,” said Obi. “It's just something that I’ve always done and it's gotten me this far.”