LANSING, Mich. — After 22 years and roughly 22,000 students, Red Cedar Gymnastics is closing its doors due to the negative financial impact of COVID-19.
"We've been in business since May of 1999," said owner and director Jamie Boyd-Hamilton. "Due to just the overwhelming strain financially of the COVID pandemic, we fell behind in our lease and we've lost our place. So, we need to close the building."
Boyd-Hamiton said when they had to shut down in March of last year, their athletes participated through Zoom. In late June, practices moved outdoors.
"So, we were outside for four hours a day, moving equipment in and out to train in the parking lot and in the grass and in the heat and, when it rained, back on Zoom," Boyd-Hamilton said.
Enrollment was growing in mid-September, but then came November's pause.
"That was sort of the death blow," Boyd-Hamilton said. "Because, we had sort of made it through the whole other part of that, but then to be shut down completely again, until the middle of January; that was just really the final straw...Even at 300 kids, that's nowhere near the almost 900 we had every month coming through before COVID. Without...kids in open gym, and play and learn, and birthday parties, and field trips, there was just no way to offset that loss in revenue."
The gym's last day was Sunday. The Hamiltons hosted an open gym that evening for kids and parents to "play one more time, see the coaches they know and love, say goodbye."
"This is a deeply personal thing to a lot of us and so, everybody kind of needed that one more chance to come in and say, you know, so long. I don't want them to say goodbye because we'll see them later, I promise. Somehow, some way," Boyd-Hamilton said.
Cari Cravotta and her three children made memories at the gym over the past five years.
"It's an amazing place. I mean, I've been so impressed with the staff here, they have all had amazing coaches, we have not had one poor experience," Cravotta said. "My daughter Alaina, who is a real serious gymnast, she has learned so many incredible skills."
"I'm really going to miss this place," gymnast Elyse Izzat said.
"I'm sad but I'm glad that they might be able to find a new place," Alaina Cravotta, Cari's daughter, added.
"I hope that we get to continue and see these coaches in another place, another time," Cari Cravotta said.
Boyd-Hamilton said her focus now is,"taking care of the problems and issues we have here, closing down this business. I hope that at some point another entity evolves in the community that embraces the culture and the philosophy we have to be inclusive of kids of different backgrounds, different skill levels, special needs, family circumstances, and work with them to give them an opportunity to enjoy gymnastics in a way it works for them."
Boyd-Hamilton said she would be 100 percent behind any venture that uses the space to pursue that mission. Until then, she is saying goodbye to her home for the past 22 years.
Want to see more local news? Visit the FOX47News Website.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.
Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines, and Daily Forecasts.