The owner and staff of YYoga are rallying for community support, in hopes of saving one of its most popular locations.
Earlier this week, the yoga studio announced the closure of its Yaletown and North Shore Elements studios. The news comes just one month after YYoga permanently closed its locations in West Vancouver, Whistler, and Burnaby, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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And while both YYoga’s Yaletown and North Shore studios are scheduled to hold their last classes in early July, the owner and staff are asking for help from the local community in an effort to save the North Vancouver location.
Terry McBride is the founder of YYoga. He says that he and his team immediately engaged in conversation with their landlords when the pandemic began. And while they were eventually able to reach lease agreements with the majority of them, they were unable to come to an agreement with the District of North Vancouver (DNV), which owns the space at the North Shore Elements studio.
“We fully engaged [with landlords] right off the bat because we were shut down,” he tells Daily Hive in an interview. “So we had no income in order to pay the rents. Every landlord was understanding but still wanted full rent. And at a certain point, we go ‘Well, how are we supposed to pay you when we have no income?'”
McBride explains that the DNV, as well as all of the other landlords, received a lease proposal as part of YYoga’s insolvency process, which would have allowed the location to continue operating. The District reportedly asked, however, for a different agreement in which rent arrears would be paid over the coming three years.
“The frustrating thing here is that the other landlords have agreed to terms that allow us to move forward,” McBride says. “The problem is the minute that we give [the arrears] to them, we have to give it to the other landlords and then we’re bankrupt. There’s just no way out of it and we’ve explained that to them.”
According to YYoga, it was because of this disagreement that they were forced to dissolve the lease on their North Vancouver location. They also say that the situation was explained to the district by McBride, as well as the trustees and the legal team, on multiple occasions.
“The DNV is replying to the pleas from our community saying that YYoga refused their offer,” McBride wrote in an email to members. “It’s important that our community understands it would be impossible for us to accept this… The DNV is aware of this and yet still continues to decline it.”
McBride tells Daily Hive that shutting down the North Vancouver studio would mean the jobs of 40 to 50 people and force thousands of members to seek a different location. He adds that the North Shore Elements studio has been located in Lynn Valley for nearly 12 years and that approximately $2 million has been spent on improving the space.
It also draws approximately 100,000 people per year to the complex, he says.
“That yoga studio is somewhat of a community space for a lot of people, where they go to mentally regroup. And now that’s taken away.”
Danielle Connor is one of those members. She grew up in Lynn Valley and has been going to YYoga for over 10 years, and she says that the news is devastating.
“Over the years, I’ve met countless incredible teachers, other students, and yogis who have changed my life for the better,” she writes in an email. “They are now my dearest friends and I truly can’t imagine my life without them.”
She says that she’s begging the DNV to reconsider YYoga’s proposal, adding that the community needs the space.
“YYoga has been a community staple for the past 12 years and Lynn Valley won’t be the same without it. It can’t.”
McBride is asking members of its community to send messages of support to the mayor, city councillors, and staff, sharing what the studio means to them.
When asked for a media statement, the DNV told Daily Hive that YYoga served the District of North Vancouver with a notice of lease termination in Lynn Valley Village, effective July 17, 2021. No further comment was made.