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Your Third Place

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This week will be one we remember forever. We started the week thinking we’d continue classes as long as we could under guidelines of social distancing. Within a day our idea of class caps had gone from 30 to 20 to 10 to 0. The stress of wondering whether or not we should close our physical doors was worse than actually closing.

From the outside, it looked like a no-brainer to close. Gyms are unfortunately, and in my opinion wrongfully, seen as sickness spreaders. We had members confess their family or employer asked them not to “just show up”. We had members and spouses of members calling us to interrogate us about our cleaning processes.

This decision was incredibly hard for two reasons.

The first reason was our team and making sure they can continue to make a living with us. We now have 7 full-time coaches (excluding Andrew and I), 1 full-time admin staff, and 4 more part-time staff members. None have a big financial cushion to fall back on and several of them have young families to support. The newest young family created on March 6th by two of our amazing coaches.

We take a lot of pride in having a payroll as big as we do. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to provide fulfilling careers. Andrew and I agree we’ve never been happier or more confident in the team we have right now so we want to do everything we can to keep them. We would go into debt to continue to pay our team through this time.

The second reason was that we are your third place.

Starbucks and founder Howard Schultz were the first to use this term as a business mantra. They would say, you have place #1 which is home, place #2 which is work, and then you have place #3 where you can come for relaxation and a sense of community. Fast forward to the present and some people are still buying their coffee from Starbucks but it’s through a drive-through window or standing in line 6-feet apart, and it’s anything but relaxed. They still have the product but have lost what people loved about them, being their third place.

The thought of not being someone’s third place anymore devasted me. And it wasn’t because I’d selfishly lose fun times with my friends, it was because I know how much a third place means to someone. For some, home is just a place to sleep at night and work is just a job to pay that place’s rent, but your third place is magical. It’s magical because it’s alive with friends and community, with positivity and support.

I don’t worry about much, and don’t even like using the word “worry”. But I worried about our athletes who relied on the gym for so much more than a workout. The athletes who come for mental sanity, emotional balance, freedom from other addictions, the release of stresses, and a personal hour just for them when they’re used to giving the other 23 hours to others.

I worried about the local businesses around us. Going to your third place, also leads you to visiting your fourth or fifth place, which might be an Oceana Coffee, 3Natives, Bagel Bistro, Rock Steady, Bolay, or Modern Juice. When you visit or don’t visit your third place, it has a domino effect on other local businesses.

Kids these days are fine with having virtual third places over Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok (not sure what that is but it’s all middle schoolers talked about when I went and spoke to them). I’m a little more old school, about to turn 36 in 9 days, and find this social distancing stuff tough.

It’s been an adjustment, but it’s been amazing to see our physical third place turn into a virtual third place. It reminds me that no matter how cool or how clean you make that 3rd place, it always comes back to the people in it.

The third place is what it is because of the people in it. Don’t let this virus pandemic steal your third place completely.

Come online with us and stay connected with your CFPB fam. Find a few friends to meet up with and get a workout in.

Keep moving forward, together.

-Coach Tony