“Maybe this is the end of the road…” I thought as I stood in the darkness in my beautiful studio, surrounded by blue ikea bags filled with items I’d grabbed to take home with me, in case I would not make it back here again. It was the 21st December, the winter solstice and darkest day of the year, and also the lowest point in my struggle to survive the Covid pandemic.
As a yoga studio running group exercise classes, we had been forced to closed our bricks and mortar business for over 8 months by this point, and I had just heard that we would be going into lockdown for the whole of January and possibly beyond. January-March is the ‘golden period’ for fitness, where we can hope to make up any shortfall from previous months and when we welcome a large number of new clients and returning clients back to classes. Knowing that we would be closed for at least some of this key period felt like the last straw, and I had to face the fact that I might need to suspend our in-studio business completely, at least for a time, until we were allowed to open our doors again. This would mean losing access to our beautiful, custom designed studio, maybe for a few weeks, maybe forever.
It felt like the end of my dream.
I had talked things over with my business mentor and my husband earlier that day and as I stood there, drinking in the sight of my beloved studio space and trying to come to terms with what was happening, I got a message from my husband, saying “I have looked again at the situation, I think we can make it work!”. I felt a surge of hope and called him straight back. My husband, John, has been one of the strongest supporters in my business, but he’s also no fool, and I trust him completely that he would be kind but honest, if he thought that we had to close down the business. He was excited as he talked to me on the phone, explaining that he had been thinking the situation through and could see a way to keep going. When I hung up the phone I burst into tears of relief, my dream and our little studio would live to fight another day. I left the pile of ikea bags in the studio, locked up and went home, full of relief and hope that my business still had a chance to survive.
Now, two months later and still in lockdown, I can see that we definitely made the right choice to keep fighting, we have received a little more government funding and managed (finally) to negotiate some rent relief from our commercial landlord. Our online classes continue to keep our community alive and I can see light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s been a long, hard road, and some sectors have been worse hit than others. Our business shrank overnight to 25% of it’s pre-covid size, and has stayed that way for almost a year now. However, having a support network of people I trust, whose skills compliment my own, has made all the difference in the world to my business surviving this far.”
I’m grateful to have such wonderful people by my side as I continue to navigate this situation, but as the days get longer, I am hopeful and glad to see sunnier days ahead.
Allison Harrison, Student, Teacher & Director
Hot Yoga Edinburgh Ltd