EDISON PARK — A dance and fitness studio focused on women empowerment closed this week after nearly eight years on the Far Northwest Side.
Low membership, financial losses from the pandemic, the unpredictable fitness market, high rent and increased property taxes influenced the decision to close, Helmuth said.
“Ever since COVID, it’s not been the same. … It’s killing me,” Helmuth said.
Fly Girl Dance & Fitness offered classes in yoga, zumba, kickboxing, HIIT and a boot camp in a fun environment tailored to boost women’s confidence, the owner said.
Helmuth, a mother of two from Park Ridge who has more than 30 years of experience in the dance and fitness world, launched the business eight years ago. She opened a Gladstone Park studio in 2016 but left that space in January 2021.
Helmuth bounced around Northwest Side fitness studios and hosted pop-up classes while scouting for a new home, settling on the Edison Park location, she previously told Block Club.
But during that time, Helmuth moved to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and opened a second Fly Girl Dance & Fitness studio in April 2021.
The studio in Helmuth’s new hometown grew rapidly, while the Chicago location struggled to recoup money or members, she said.
“We’d have 30 [people per class] before COVID, but now it was 12 if I was lucky,” she said. “I was constantly staying on the fence to help Chicago stay alive.”
Although the decision was heartbreaking, Helmuth said she is confident it was the right move for her mental health and the business.
Helmuth hopes to host pop-up fitness classes in Chicago to keep in touch with her Northwest Side members, who mostly live in Norwood Park, Edison Park and the suburbs.
“It’s a clean cut, a clean year — I know what I did is right,” Helmuth said.
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