118 Shady Oak
There is no easy way to announce this. Due to circumstances out of our control, we are losing our studio space. Yes... you read that right; the Aviary Hopkins/Minnetonka location will be no longer. -TLDR: Skip to the end for what is next-
Background: A few weeks ago, our landlord informed us that the neighboring carpet business wanted to take over our space at the end of their lease or they would be leaving. He didn't want a vacancy in one of his units, so he gave us the opportunity to counter. Anxiety level 100. Can we do that? Can we expand our business? It has only been two years... Hopkins is not my ideal. Can we keep pulling from the same client pool? Will tripling our rent kill the business? After countless texts, phone calls and multiple meetings, Gene and I crunched numbers and tried to counteroffer with taking over their space/ expanding the current Aviary. We were hopeful that as a worst-case scenario, we would just extend our current lease, the carpet people would deal and that would be the end of it. During class on Thursday, a text from our landlord came through that shattered my world. He was accepting their offer and would not be renewing our lease. In my heart of hearts, I did not think that was going to be the outcome. Personal: I took over the Aviary when I wasn't even a year post-partum with our son, Gene was also making a huge job transition, we were on the hunt for our forever home, planning our wedding and right smack dab in the middle of the COVID pandemic when thousands of local businesses were shutting down. Nevertheless, we decided to roll to dice and purchase the studio from the previous owner.
I spent countless evenings into nights into mornings, away from my baby and husband, so that my mom and I could clean, reorganize, "demo" the lobby and plan out the mini studio, catalog inventory and hand paint the floors. We had wall painting parties with students and staff, celebrated as we tore off the wings decal and other artwork that no longer fit the rebrand aesthetic and slowly began to make it feel like home, a new home. It was a very personal labor of love. It was my chance to make a safe space for myself and my crew. I know we accomplished that goal.
Uncertainties: I can dream up a perfectly central location with tall ceilings, a building with character, amble parking, multiple rooms for dual classes, bathrooms and changing rooms... but realistically, I am at the mercy of what is out there and available. No location will be perfect for every student. A new space may turn people off/change is scary. It will feel different and in the time it takes to become comfortable will people lose interest? Am I announcing this too soon/will students give up on us and find something else? Will I lose my 'Fly Fam'? Most days I feel I am already spreading myself too thin, how will this added ginormous task affect me and those around me. The list goes on...
What I know: The following outweigh the above uncertainties. I have a fiercely loyal community of students, family and friends backing me. My staff are hands down the best I could ask for and have already committed to working harder than ever to recreate (and improve) what we have now. My husband is the single most supportive, realistic, empowering man I could ever have by my side, and has the experience and resources to pull from for this next phase. My dream/business/studio is cradled by so much support from everyone around me that I know-deep down- this will not fail. Lastly, I know that I am boldly determined to do every single thing in my power to rehome my people in a bigger and better facility. Something more functional and with the most seamless transition I can manage. Current Happenings: We have scouted a few potential spaces already. We found one that... ya'll... couldn't be much more of a perfect fit. I will not be giving updates except to announce when we finalize a new spot and all the information that goes along with that. I will spare you all the rollercoaster that is ahead.
Time Frame: January 31st is our hard end date. That is potentially 9 long months before we have to vacate. Depending on what we find, it could (and will probably) be sooner. A lot sooner. Final: I was going to wait to announce this until I had nothing but positivity and certainty on the next location, but I felt like I was lying to my students when I came in on Friday/Saturday for classes and didn't want to continue that for weeks/months, it made me feel sick to my stomach. I always keep it 100% with you all, and I realized this morning that sharing this information in a personal blog post was going to be the best way to feel upfront and truthful. I wanted to share why I am grieving what feels like a big loss, but also the hope that this could be the best route for us- we truly were outgrowing our space; we all felt it. Please give myself and my coaches some extra love and/or space as we go through this. They don't have any extra information than what I have outlined here, so please be mindful when asking them questions. We know what this place is for so many of you, we will not let you down.
I plan to celebrate this space with added Fly Fam activities, guest teachers, a showcase, adult circus camp, photoshoots...basically as much as I can possibly fit in before we close the doors and open some new ones.
The magic of The Aviary is so much bigger than just the walls holding it in place. We are not done. We are just moving on to bigger and better. I hope you join us.