SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY
OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Dear Skyhook Family,
It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to temporarily close our doors. Although we love and value all who have been using the facility, we feel that for the safety of everyone we are asking you to stay home.
Being stuck between a rock and a hard place is a terrible feeling and one that most of us can relate to. Like other small businesses, we have been struggling with this pandemic and how to support the two groups we care so much about; our staff and community.
Everyday has been a struggle with this decision. To slow the spread we should, by all means close the gym, but to keep paying our staff we have to stay open. Just two days ago, I sent another email, saying we were making the hard choice of staying open so that when you were ready to return, you would come back to the same gym.
The outpouring of support we have received is enormous. Members have been voicing their support, and even shedding tears for what we’re going through. What has kept us going is the goodwill and love of our members. Even though we have been “open,” Skyhook has been relatively empty. This means that people have been continuing their memberships even if they aren’t coming to the gym. This shows just how much our members care to support us and our staff. While open we have been very careful to follow all new rules that have been put in place and we have been averaging less than four members in each class and less than 20 members in the gym per day.
Staying open has been predominantly well received and our thoughts were to stay open as long as people were wanting to come, that thought process changed today. Today was the first day that we received angry emails and phone calls from members and non-members alike that we were still open. This breaks my heart. I know what my responsibility to the community as a leader is, but in trying to support my staff I am making the very people who support us angry. We know that without our members we wouldn't be around. So we feel even more stuck, how can we keep paying our staff but not make our members feel like we are failing in our responsibility to the community?
There is never a good time for a global pandemic, but this could not have happened at a worse time for Skyhook. As many of our members know, we have started the process of opening a second location. Prior to the outbreak, we had signed a sales agreement and put down all of our savings. Writing this out it sounds irresponsible, but the gravity of the situation hasn’t fully sunk in. I have gone from drawing plans/layouts for all the amazing things our second location would have, to creating severe budget restrictions just to make payroll. To make matters worse, we had recently hired new staff in preparation for the next location. All of this means that we have less money in the bank than we need to support our team in the coming months.
While the number of people who have kept their memberships active has been far more than expected, we have still taken a hit. We understand and do not blame anyone! We have shed tears with those members who have lost jobs, and only want those who can support us right now without hurting their own families to continue to do so. This kind of crisis requires everyone to support one another, and that means we want to support everyone the best that we can.
Our staff has been amazing through this, we started by asking all of our teenage staff to voluntarily stay home and give extra hours to the staff with families and mortgages. Every single one of them agreed. Then we took volunteers from the rest of our staff, if they could work less, or give up shifts, we took them up on it. Then we did a temporary lay off for two of our new staff who had just begun their training. Firing someone is never easy but is even harder when they haven't done anything wrong.
All this to say we have made a hard decision. While there are no good solutions, we are hoping to take care of the two groups we care about the most, our staff and community. The only way we can care for both groups is to lean on our members for support. If we close Skyhook, and sixty percent of our members keep their memberships active, we can still pay our core staff, who have dependents, rent/mortgages and no other options. I know this is asking a lot of everyone, and again, please only support us if you can, but we are making memberships Opt out, not opt in support. This way if you are in dire straits you can email us to opt out. Setting this up this way feels wrong, but I hope that by doing it this way am willing to do what is needed to support my staff.
So that being said, we are closing classes and open gym at Skyhook from 3/17 to 4/2. We will be evaluating the closure on a day to day basis, and will be in touch with everyone via email if things change. When this whole thing blows over, we will not forget the members who stood by us. Everyone who helped us out will become a gold member for the month after we re-open, and we plan to host the biggest and best member appreciation party ever, when it's safe to host gatherings again. In an effort to do our part in keeping the community moving, we plan to have online lessons for members, and while your kids doing ninja on the sofa and in the hall is why many came to Skyhook in the first place, with your support we can keep this as only a temporary change of pace.
A note from Jamie Buck, the General Manager of Skyhook:
As Cody has already stated, this has been incredibly hard. I’ve gone to school for business, owned several companies and there is no playbook for what to do in a pandemic, this is far outside my skill set and scope. Please be patient with us as we process your requests, we will get back to you as soon as possible. To opt out of supporting Skyhook, please email me personally at JamieB@skyhookfitness.com. It has been an absolute pleasure having all of you be apart of my life and want nothing more than to keep this dream going for as long as possible. With your continued support we will get back to normal and continue to bring the joys Skyhook to as many people as possible.
Sincerely and with Love,
Owners of Skyhook