Evolve Pilates — a popular fitness and cycling studio in Edgartown for the past eight years — will permanently close its doors this December as a result of the pandemic, the owners confirmed Monday.
“My husband and I made the decision recently to sell this property with the understanding that when the property sold the business would close,” Laura Alexander, owner and pilates instructor at Evolve, told the Gazette by phone Monday.
Ms. Alexander first announced the decision two weeks ago in an email to staff and customers. On Monday, she sent a subsequent email reminding customers with membership packages to request refunds or book private or semi-private sessions before the business officially shutters.
While the property remains on the market, the doors to the studio will officially close on Dec. 11, just before the holiday season, Ms. Alexander said.
“This Covid situation has left me reflective and looking towards the future and what is next in [my] life. It’s very sad decision, and it’s a very difficult decision, but I don’t see, with all of this uncertainty and the unpredictable nature of this virus, when we can return to teaching full classes again,” she said.
The Edgartown pilates studio was begun by Ms. Alexander in 2012. After receiving her classical pilates teaching certification from the Vineyard Pilates Center in May of that year, Ms. Alexander purchased the studio space and eagerly opened doors to the public just one month later in June.
“It was well received in the community — something I’m forever grateful for — and I do think that it was a niche and a thing that could have been missing and clearly on many levels, it was,” she said on Monday.
Over the years, the studio grew in both size and popularity, eventually expanding to include diverse fitness courses, including cycling, boxing and barre classes.
Reflecting on the business, Ms. Alexander praised the studio’s devoted team of instructors, who she feels have shaped the studio’s identity. “I cannot say enough about them. They are what has made Evolve Evolve,” she said.
The recent decision to sell the property was brought on by the pandemic, which has dealt a hard blow to business, Ms. Alexander said.
Since re-opening this July, the studio has been offering private and socially distanced semi-private classes, but between space restrictions, concern over indoor virus exposure and challenges with instruction availability, demand for classes has been low, Ms. Alexander said.
During lockdown, Ms. Alexander said she tried uploading exercise videos to the studio’s YouTube page, but teaching virtually could not replace in-person instruction.
“For me, something definitely gets lost in translation when I try to teach virtually,” she said, reflecting more broadly on the challenges of instructing amidst the pandemic.
“It’s not that I don’t believe in pilates or want to teach it any longer, I just feel that time and circumstances have dictated that I take a step back,” she said.
In her email Monday, Ms. Alexander thanked the community for all their participation and support over the years. “This change is accompanied with deeply mixed emotions – know that I and the Evolve staff will miss all of you very much,” she wrote. “We hope we have made a positive impact on your lives — you certainly did on ours.”