It’s been almost a month since Sunberry temporary closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. During the last month Julia and I have been following the government’s policy directions and discussing how to best serve the Sunberry community. We started offering live-stream classes to better service everyone, and we appreciate everyone’s support!
However, operating online classes is not nearly enough to sustain our overhead cost, and we came to the conclusion that the responsible thing to do is to let everyone know that we will be closing on July 25, 2020. This is when Sunberry’s cash reserve will run out.
We decided it is best to let everyone know ahead of time, instead of closing overnight like many fitness centers have done in the past. This way, you will have until then to use all of your passes on either online classes, redeem for merchandise and/or redeem for store equipment.
Government’s Timeline for Fitness Centres to Reopen
On April 9, PM said that “[social distancing] will be the new normal until a vaccine is developed”. This will take at least 12 to 18 months according to multiple reliable sources.
We have also heard the government’s plan is to reopen the economy in stages. We imagine this would be according to how close to essential services and how easy it is to maintain social distance each business is. Services such as group fitness classes that are not a necessity nor easy to maintain social distance are very far down the list. This means we probably won’t get the green light to reopen at full capacity for another 8 to 12 months.
We have been conservative with Sunberry’s finances over the years, always aiming to have at least 2 months of extra cash in the bank. To our knowledge, this is more cash reserve than most fitness centers. Usually fitness centers heavily relay on memberships being renewed monthly to stay afloat.
When we started the temporary closure back in March, we reduced our expenses in order to hold out for as many months as possible while still servicing our members.
We’ve been running on volunteering since we switched to virtual classes, reducing our payroll to only covering the instructors’ pay (even 1 instructor volunteering to teach for free to help the community out). But we still incur the heavy overhead of keeping an empty store. Instead of waiting for funds to run out and then closing unannounced, we decided the right thing to do is to let everyone in our community know that we have roughly 3 months of cash left, and we want to do the best possible to service you during that time.
From now until July 25, 2020 you can use your remaining passes for:
- Online livestream classes
- Exchange for Sunberry merchandise (while supply last)
- Exchange for Sunberry fitness equipment (while supply last)
- We will provide an inventory list for your redemption – more information on how to redeem for merchandise/equipment will be announced next week
We know that for some it might be difficult to use all remaining passes, you can share passes with any 2 other people. Please let us know and we will set it up for you.
We never would have foreseen that this is how Sunberry would end. Throughout the many years we continue to host classes through thick and thin, including many instructors coming and going, car crashing into our store, and moving because our lease suddenly got cancelled. You, our community, has always been there for us, and we really appreciate it 🙂
As always, please let us know if you have any questions.
Let’s make best of the next 3 months working out together!
We hope this is not the end, when the opportunities arise, we hope to service you again.
Nancy & Julia
Questions You Might Have
- Can I refund my pass?
No, if we start refunding we will run out of cash right away and not everyone will get their money back. It will not be fair to those people read the email late . The most fair way is to give everyone equal access to the classes and merchandise.
- Can I still convert my membership to online pass?
Yes, you have until April 19 to convert your passes to online classes. The value is $10 store credit for 1 class.
- How come Sunberry can’t continue offering classes online until the studio reopens again?
This has do with our lease obligations. The lease was signed with Sunberry Fitness, as long as the company continue to exist we will be liable for the monthly rent. This includes continuing to offer online classes.
- Have you look into additional financing?
We have. We had high hopes that Sunberry would qualify for the government emergency business loan, but we didn’t. This is due how fitness centers pay instructors, so our T4 total doesn’t reach the qualifying amount, but our T4A does. The government won’t take T4A numbers as part of the loan qualification.
- Can’t Sunberry remain open while respecting social distancing?
No, it is not financially viable. We would have to charge $30-40/person each class.
- Will you open again when everything is back to normal?
It’s highly likely. We will try out best, but it will also depend on many other things such as rent, the retail locations that are available at the time, etc.