YYC Cycle Spin Studio powers through pandemic to emerge even stronger

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Among the hardest hit businesses during the pandemic — which forced a complete shutdown of their operations — were those involved in helping people keep fit.

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Some didn’t survive, but YYC Cycle Spin Studio managed to pull through and has even been able add locations.

Founded by three Haskayne School of Business grads who were all athletes, the company is still owned by two of the original partners — Grady Topak, a former competitive hockey player, and Andrew Obrecht who played defensive end for the U of C Dinos.

The first location was in Kensington, opened in 2014 with 35 top-of-the-line stationary bicycles made by U.S. manufacturer Schwinn. It has since undergone a renovation that allows for 43 bikes.

A second studio — an instant success — opened in Marda Loop the following year with a room that boasted 43 bikes, and in 2017 another location opened in Avenida Village along Macleod Trail. Unfortunately, to cut costs the decision was made to close it.

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The pandemic meant a complete shutdown of all operations for 10 months, as well as almost eight months of limiting operations to 25 per cent capacity or less, separating bikes by a mandatory 10 feet.

Perseverance through a pandemic must count as a local success story.

YYC Cycle was able to keep an income stream by leasing out bikes to individuals throughout the province who wanted to sustain their regularity of training.

They have all been recalled as now it’s back to business. In fact, Topak reports that since June of 2021, two new locations opened in Calgary and a second in Edmonton.

The west end is now covered by a West Springs studio in the West District community being developed by Truman Homes off 85th Street S.W. And spin classes to help mind and body feel energized and rejuvenated are also available in the YYC Studio in University District in the northwest. Considered a prime location, it is in a growing residential mixed-use district boosted by its proximity to the University of Calgary and Market Mall, and is easy to get to from the established surrounding communities.

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At full operations, the company had a staff of more than 200 in management, leadership, front and back of house, and inspirational motivators conducting 50-minute classes.

Many are already back and eager to help people of all ages and experience to exercise at their own rate in a comfort zone that works best for them.

YYC now has two YEG studios in Edmonton — on Whyte Avenue and Jasper Avenue — and in August opens a YVR Cycle Spin Studio in Yaletown in Vancouver.

Well-run businesses tend to be good corporate citizens involved in the local community. The partners of YYC Cycle have been successful in raising and donating money for local charities.

Raised in a number of ways, such as offering profits from half-price opening weeks and regular half-price Friday evenings for drop-ins, client cyclists nominate charities of their choice, which are then voted on. Over the years, more than $860,000 has been given to charities in Calgary and Edmonton.

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YYC Cycle Spin Studio has a mission to create a safe and inclusive fitness experience for everybody, but has also announced a goal of raising $2 million for charities by 2025 through its seven locations.

Notes:

Alberta Relaunch 2022 — being held in the Palomino Room in the BMO Centre on June 28 — is a one-day conference presented by New West Public Affairs that will convene political and industry leaders, media personalities and public policy experts in panel discussions on a range of topics of paramount interest to this province. Keynote speakers include Mark Carney, vice-chair of Brookfield Asset Management and former governor of the Bank of Canada; Hon. Lisa Raitt, vice-chair of Global Investment Banking at CIBC and former Conservative cabinet minister of Transport, Labour and Natural Resources; and Lisa Baiton, recently appointed president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]

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