To Our Beloved Community,
After much reflection, Dennis & I have decided that we are not going to reopen our physical location when we are permitted to do so. Bridge The Gap will be leaving 536 N Trooper Road & embarking on a new path. We are excited about this new opportunity to serve our fitness family!
Not to worry – we are not shutting down our business, and we are not leaving the fitness industry. Bridge The Gap will operate online, as well as offer 1:1 and 2:1 in-person training in our new space. We will reveal the details of this in the coming days.
In the short term, we’re going to continue offering the exact same service we’ve been providing until June 30. Nothing will change. We are still committed to you and guiding you to reach your health & fitness goals.
In the coming days, every member will be contacted personally, and we will talk about how we can help you stay fit and healthy through this transition & moving forward.
We absolutely understand that some of you will want to return to a physical group setting. We thrive on the energy & presence of others and we understand. But for the foreseeable future, that environment will not exist in any gym, regardless of how they choose to train.
Dennis & I have always started with WHY with our athletes – Why now? Why BTG? Why tackle a tough changes in YOUR life? As we enter the next phase of Bridge The Gap, here is OUR WHY as we share the reasons for our decision.
WHY WE’RE CHANGING COURSE: BUSINESS
Since day one, we have been working to deliver the best hour of the day to our dedicated members. Many of you have been in a solo session one week, and a packed class the next. While a different experience unto themselves, both settings have the same benefits of getting better & feeling better.
We understand that our clients have their own stresses, many of which have multiplied through the transition to schooling from home, working from home, & just being at home 24/7. For one hour of your day, whether on zoom or through personalized workouts on True Coach, it’s our duty to deliver a reprieve from that stress, if only for an hour.
Our philosophy hasn’t changed, and that’s why this letter won’t be full of misery or tears. But we will offer a little more info than we normally do only so all our valued clients understand why we’re making this decision.
We want to be very clear about several things.
- Our decision is not political. We don’t blame the government or the fitness industry or covid-19. In these unprecedented times, we understand there are people who want businesses to open and people who think they should be closed longer. We respect both positions.
- We are not breaking a lease or dealing with a harsh landlord. Our lease is set to expire in October, at the same time experts are predicting the next wave of covid-19 & the start of flu season. Our landlords are two of the most kind, understanding, wonderful people we have ever had the pleasure to know. This is a rare and special thing in commercial real estate & we are especially grateful for their flexibility throughout this year.
- We are not out of money either, and there’s no cause for alarm.
It would be a mistake to say that numbers and math don’t influence our decision. There isn’t a business owner in the world who isn’t looking at the books daily right now, and very few of them are seeing good things.
In the news, you’ll hear from all kinds of entrepreneurs who are struggling to navigate the new standards of operation. In particular, we have been saddened by news from others in our industry who have been trying to navigate the economics of a business with a physical space through a period when you aren’t permitted to use it.
Even when certain restrictions are lifted, much of our physical space will remain empty & unusable. With projections of a new wave of Covid-19 in the Fall, another shutdown is also not out of the question.
- We aren’t quitting or giving up on you or Bridge The Gap. We are simply making a shift in a direction that will allow everyone to train safely & effectively. Our community will remain vibrant & we will continue to nurture it through outdoor group meetups, social events, fundraisers, our members’ group on facebook, & through personal and small group training.
Here’s how we see “the new fitness industry” and new Bridge The Gap:
Covid-19 isn’t gone, and it isn’t going away for a long time. Shifting into a new color phases, a few weeks of glorious weather and the reopening of some businesses have brightened the sky, but the fitness industry, particularly group fitness, has changed dramatically in the last three months. It won’t be the same for a long time, if ever.
We support all the public-health measures issued by the government, but the reality is that reopening plans change our entire business model. So many of you have said you can’t wait to get back to the gym, but it simply will not be business as usual in any way. In fact, many of the things that made the gym special would change.
Limitations on class size, spacing requirements, cleaning procedures, screening at entry, discouraging congregation—all of that has been declared necessary for public health. But the backbone of our gym lies with you- in the gathering of our community. To return in the manner necessary to comply with necessary restrictions would not be the business we worked so hard to make a reality.
We do not want to be security guards. We do not want to be checking temperatures & enforcing mandates. We do not want to be cleaners. And we don’t want to send someone home because he or she has an allergy flareup with covid-like symptoms.
We want to be fitness and nutrition coaches. We want to help you see your potential. We want to help you achieve things you never have dreamed possible. It is our calling. It is our purpose. And we can still do that. It’s just going to look a little different.
Over the last months, we proved to ourselves that we can still help people get fit online. We know it with certainty. In fact, we realized that in some cases our online coaching is actually better than our in-person coaching. And the accountability that comes with online coaching is oftentimes much more far-reaching than catching people if and when they show up for classes.
Since March 12, we’ve connected with our members in a more meaningful way almost daily. And we realized something else: online training solves many issues. Over the years, we’ve heard many departing members tell us the class schedule doesn’t work, they just couldn’t make it to the gym, or they didn’t have 90 minutes for travel and a workout.
The fitness industry has changed – but our methodology & approach to health & fitness has not. And so we will evolve as a business to find a place in the new landscape. Now is the time for us to make a change.
One other reason stands above all this business talk.
WHY WE’RE CHANGING COURSE: PERSONAL
From November 1, 2017 to March 12, 2020, our business has probably been closed for less than 10 days total.
Dennis & I started BTG with zero members and an unbreakable certainty that we were truly pursuing our life’s purpose. Since then, our gym has seen as many as 75 members – each bringing unique experience to our gym & supporting our values and vision on which BTG is based. We invested ourselves fully in the business and pushed very hard in a very tough industry. And we loved it. (Almost) every second of it. Even the shitty days were an opportunity to learn. We are proud of what we built together with all of you, and we have thousands of fond memories shared with people who amazed us daily.
When covid shut down the world, we ramped up the pace even further. We essentially built a new business in two days. After the initial move online, we took a breath and realized the “pause button” had been hit for the first time in 3 years. We were still very busy, but the change in pace and environment finally gave us a chance to reconnect.
When we did, we realized that we hadn’t talked much lately. We had put the business in front of our family, managing the hand-off of baby Fiona, going from one full-time job to another, no days off, and maybe you get in a workout if it’s 5am or 8pm. Then you end the day with just enough energy to whisper goodnight before passing out. And then doing it all again. We don’t regret any of that. We loved every minute of the last 3 years. But we came to understand that it was time to make a change.
We know we could get through a reopening. Dennis & I don’t have “off buttons”. It’s part of what makes us a great team. We know we would do whatever needed to be done with no limit on hours or effort. We can work 16-hour days, and we have done so many times.
But we probably wouldn’t see each other much. We wouldn’t get to see Fiona grow, or have time to pet our puppies. There would be no time left to spend time with family or have time to have a beer with our friends.
We’ve decided that the most precious thing we have is time, and we want to spend more of it with each other. With covid pressing the reset button, sending us back to our start-up days, we have the perfect opportunity to decide how we can help people get fit and spend more time as a family. And it will make us better trainers, and better people.
THE NEXT STAGE OF BTG
With gyms reopening soon and a new plan for our business to come, YOU will be able to choose the path that works for you, too. We’re leaving no one behind. This opportunity is not just a new, exciting change for us, but for you as well. We are all in this together and we will help you figure out the next part of your fitness journey.
BTG will still be offering the same online service until June 30. And then we will offer different services—we will tell you all about them in a few days. But if that doesn’t interest you, we totally understand. More than anything else, we want you to keep working out, and we’ll help you find a way to do so.
In closing, it’s worth saying that this decision comes with a lot of heavy conversations, what-ifs, lots (and lots) of tears & too many sleepless nights over the last 90 days. But it’s the right one for our family, even if it’s hard.
We would like to thank every single person who has ever trained with us for these amazing years. We are honored that you spent time with us helping us to build our dream.
To our current clients, you mean the world to us! Your unconditional love & support through this time has fueled us and motivated us. You inspire us daily with your commitment and dedication. If you need anything right now, you know how to contact us. If not, you’ll hear from us personally in the next couple of days. Thank you for trusting us with your health and fitness.
BTG isn’t going away. We’re just building a new, better bridge to your goals.
With love & gratitude,
Aileen & Dennis