After getting “creative” to stay viable while its physical space was closed for more than three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a kickboxing studio in Eldersburg will hold its grand reopening Wednesday, July 1.
iLoveKickboxing had to close its doors in March due to executive orders issued by Gov. Larry Hogan for Maryland in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The company was able to remain in business and keep all its employees by switching classes to a virtual platform, according to manager Grant Murchison.
“It was March 16 that the governor’s order came down that all gyms and fitness studios or whatever they were, they had to close their doors,” Murchison said. “So that’s when we actually sort of shifted gears and began doing online workout videos. We made those available to our members, and we actually ended up forming a conglomerate with all of the iLoveKickboxing [studios] in the mid-Atlantic area. Together, we were able to essentially keep people working and working out.”
The studio originally held its virtual classes on Facebook Live but later switched to the Zoom videoconferencing platform. It sends out a link to members for the week, and they can log on to join whatever class time they want.
In addition to holding virtual classes, the owner also applied for state and federal funding to get through the difficult financial times and benefit his employees.
“I did [receive funding] but certainly not in the ideal amount that I was requesting for, but yes we received funding,” said owner Benjamin Alcid, who has owned the franchise location since 2017. “We were able to use that to ... pay our employees because I did not lay off my employees. I did say, ‘You were going to be on reduced hours,’ and thankfully they were all team players and they understood.”
iLoveKickboxing also has reduced its members’ rates during the pandemic since it switched to a virtual platform and wasn’t able to open the studio.
“People didn’t mind paying and wanted to continue with their membership, so we were able to retain a good majority of our membership base,” Murchison said. “It’s just because we got creative and were able to make it happen.”
According to Alcid, some of their members were so supportive of him that they told him to keep their rates the same.
“I had some members that said, ‘Hey, I know what it’s like to be a small business.’ And we had a few that said, ‘I’m perfectly fine. You don’t need to reduce my offer,‘ ” Alcid said. “I love those members. [There] wasn’t a whole lot of that, but I do appreciate the fact that there was a handful of members that said they were perfectly fine with it and would love to support.”
Even though the studio will hold its grand reopening Wednesday, it has technically been open since June 19 when the restrictions on gyms and fitness studios were lifted by Hogan.
“For the grand reopening, what we’re really doing with that is really kind of an open house sort of thing,” Murchison said. “Just remind everybody that we’re here, essentially just throwing a big party. We’re getting a food truck coming in, and one of our members is a baker and she’s going to do a bunch of healthy cookies. And [we] really just [want to] thank everybody for sticking with us during the time that we had to close the studio doors. Hopefully, [we] get some new members out of it.”
Alcid also wants to use the grand reopening as a way to connect with the community and make residents aware of the studio’s services.
“For any business, it’s always about promoting what we offer, and I look at the grand opening as a great way to be able to introduce to the community that we’re here. We’ve been shut down for three months, but we’re here; we’re back,” Alcid said. “We’re going to do a class and then after that, we’re just going to have a party.”
The studio will also offer a free class at its grand reopening to those who aren’t members.
According to Murchison, the studio now offers about 13 classes a week in the studio with limited class sizes and additional classes online.
iLoveKickboxing, at 1209 Liberty Road, is open Monday through Saturday, offering classes as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m.