Out of nowhere, Ascend Body, a longtime Mission fitness studio, closed its doors Saturday, leaving many employees and members confused.
A three-page notice posted to the front door at 2415 Mission St. and signed by Ascend’s owner, Shane Young, said the business had experienced “several significant financial hardships.”
“I never imagined I would have to close the doors, and there were things in play that had us hopeful up until the last minute. Though we pulled out all the stops to solve this, it just wasn’t possible,” Young wrote.
In a phone call with Mission Local, Young said that the studio had been operating on a “thin margin” since it moved in March 2018 from 16th Street into 2415 Mission St.
Problems with the building’s owners arose almost immediately, he said, because it was never made clear to Young when “payments were due” and the late fees piled up. Rents were paid electronically, and the landlord lives out of the area.
The landlord could not be reached for comment.
Young said that the owner began adding late fees and Young was never clear on how much he owed. He said he hired a lawyer when his late fees reached nearly $10,000.
Young said the final blow came when four trainers left the studio and took their clients with them. With those recent defections, he said, the business wasn’t able to recover and was forced to close.
It’s unclear why the trainers left. One trainer who spoke to Mission Local refused to go into details regarding the departure.
Despite the closure, Young said he had no “hard feelings” toward the employees who left. Instead, he blamed the high rent which was at least two and a half times more than Ascend paid at 2973 16th St. Young said that despite the increase in rent, the fitness studio moved because they had more clients and needed more space.
“It sank us. The last four days have been incredibly hard and the clients are sad that it’s closing,” Young said.
On Tuesday, some clients discovered the closure when they arrived to work out.
One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, discovered the gym’s closure from the note taped to the gym’s front door. She had signed up for classes at Ascend last week via Groupon and she expected to have her first class this week.
“I guess I’m out of 80 bucks. I wish they would have said something, especially if they knew their last day was on Saturday. It’s insane,” the woman said.
One employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said there had been zero notice. The employee did not want to go into detail because she was still awaiting a final paycheck.
As of last month, Ascend Body had 170 clients regularly attending classes at the studio. Young said there were 13 employees at the studio, including cleaning staff.
Young, who has been working as a lifestyle coach for over 13 years, said he’s still figuring out how to move forward with the business and his career. He hopes to plan a goodbye party soon, he said.
“Our community was amazing and I’m super grateful to the people who made it was. I’m happy for the time we spent together,” he said.