Dearest Friends, Please Read...

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UPCOMING ELEMENTS WORKSHOPS:

#24 (Williamsburg) starts May 3 SOLD OUT!
#25 (Williamsburg) Mon/Thur @8pm, starts May 10 (4 slots left) (1/2 price = $150)

UPCOMING ENDURANCE WORKSHOP:
Rowing Workshop -- Saturday, May 15th

Sunday 100502

21-15-9 reps for time of:
95 pound barbell Squat snatch
Chest to bar pull-ups

Post time to comments.

CFBK Strength Preference: CF Football

Rest Day.

All CFBK Members, Please Read...

Dearest Friends:

We are very sad to announce that effective Friday, May 28 we will be suspending our operation in Brooklyn. We have not been able to make a deal for a new location, and we are financially unable to function in our current Brooklyn space, which runs at a substantial loss. This is easily one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make but in the end a necessary one.

We did the best we could there for two years. Our coaching staff has gone far beyond the call of duty. Our members have been incredibly patient and loyal. We will do the right thing by you.

Every current Brooklyn member will have the following choices:

* A full refund on any prepaid time past May 28

* The right to have their current Brooklyn membership terms honored in Manhattan at the Brooklyn rate, plus the right to renew at the current Brooklyn rate for life. (This option will also be available to all students enrolled in Elements #22, #23, and #24).

We will do our best to distribute coaching hours in Manhattan to all our Brooklyn coaches. Our current plan calls for having no instructor at either location lose more than three hours per week.

The passion exhibited for training by the coaches and members of CFBK has been exemplary, and as a part of the larger CFNYC organization, we strongly value your contribution and encourage you to continue to add your enthusiasm and insight to this community.

Despite the location setback, we continue to invest substantially in CFNYC as a whole, and are working hard to keep up with the very fast growth we've experienced in the past few years, and that we know we'll continue to see going forward. And we're particularly grateful for your understanding as we hit growing pains - like this one- along the way.

If you have any questions, feel free to post to comments (we will do our best to respond here) or to speak with us live.

C, H and J

Avery Elements.jpg

37 Comments

Our current Manhattan Schedule:

Mon-Fri AM: 6:30 - 7:15, 7:15 - 8:00 (Members are free to arrive a bit early and/or stay a bit late)

Mon-Fri Lunch: 12:30 - 1:30

Mon-Thurs PM: 5:30 - 6:30, 6:30 - 7:30, 7:30 - 8:30, 8:30 - 9:30

Mon-Thurs PM "Express" 6:00 - 6:40, 6:40 - 7:20, 7:20 - 8:00

Sat Hours 9:00 - 4:00, WOD's at 9:00, 11:00, 1:00, 3:00
Sunday Hours: 9:00 - 2:00, WOD's at 9:00, 11:00, 12:00, 1:00

Effective Immediately, all Brooklyn Members may attend any Manhattan WOD as part of their membership.

To be clear: Whatever you paid the last time you were charged for your Brooklyn membership will be your lifetime rate in Manhattan.

We will do everything in reason to welcome and accommodate our Brooklyn members in Manhattan.

Dear owners & fellow members,

I am disheartened by this news. I had no idea we were in this desperate a state.

Is there anything we could do to boost membership in Brooklyn? For example, the other day in one of the many neighborhood coffee shops I saw a flyer for another gym giving discounts on enrollment fees. Is this something BBB could do? I would be happy to put together the flyer announcing our deals on Elements classes. This could be an inexpensive and easy way to increase traffic. I say "our" and "we" because I feel genuinely part of something at the Brooklyn Black Box and am saddened by the prospect of it's end.

I'm sure many of our members and coaches feel the same and would be into similar contributions. I feel like we have an intelligent and proactive group that all care very much for the Box. Please team does anyone have any ideas on how to make the BBB more efficient? Is there time to save our gym? I hate to be the one to say this but would an increase in rates be part of the solution? Increased presence of an owner/manager as a way to offer consistency the way Torch did? Are the owners open to suggestions from members? I know it's not my business and it may very well be that we cannot save the gym but I would be happy dialogue this out.

It's very generous on the part of the owners to offer the same rates in Maha, however for me, it's just too far out of the way.

In the event that it is too late what then are other members going to do? Where to go? Are there any other options for o-lifting in williamsburg?

Thoughts?

Best,
Brook

I agree with Brook,
my questions are...

-Does "Suspended" mean it's only a matter of time before another location is found and the BBB will resume.

-If the gym is loosing money, how much more would all the members need to pay to keep it running? Is this even an option? I appreciated the grandfathering rates, etc.., at the end of last year, but if that is what's causing the BBB to close, then I'm not into that idea anymore.

-Do y'all want to run a BBB anymore?

almost forgot...
WOD
75lb sub
14:00
Really hot in the gym, hard to breathe

Cash Out, Tabata Push ups,
10,10,10,10,10,10,7,7

I am also surprised and disappointed by this announcement. For months all we have heard is that we are going to be moving into a new location. First it was Jan 1, then Mar 1, etc. If closing the gym was being discussed, why werent the members brought into the loop to try and save the gym?

I have been a member for around 18 months and I have never seen any marketing of the gym within williamsburg (the sign out front is not going to be seen by the vast majority of folks in the area as we arent exactly in a high-traffic area). If increasing the membership was the issue, then why was nothing done to try and drive membership? If that isnt the issue, what is?

I guess it comes down to John's question...do you want to run a gym in brooklyn or not. From my standpoint it seems like you dont. If you did, you could have reached out to the members to find a solution.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Manhattan really isnt very convenient for us, so this is really disappointing.
Craig

I'm disappointed as well... it seems in the last few weeks there have been more new people in the gym than ever...

Hey everyone-

I know this has seemed very sudden and in terms of announcements, I'm sure it is but we have been dealing with the issue of financial solvency in BK for some time. As far as do we want to continue to run BBB, absolutely but in the end this has become a strictly "cash-loss" issue. We certainly could raise the rates in BK but even at the good price we currently have, we are not able to attract enough members, which we largely guess is due to the condition and location of the facility. The training community and instruction is outstanding, as anyone in the very dedicated hard-core BBB family will tell you. And even if we raised them to the current rate in Manhattan and everyone stayed it's questionable that we would break even. We have invested a substantial amount in support to BBB to date and it is yet to be self-staining.
A few suggestion have been floated, many of which we have discussed prior to this decision. We did do advertising and received absolutely no traffic as a result. The biggest issue is space that is appropriate for what we do, is reasonably priced and able to attract sustainable growth. We have looked quite a bit for the right space but our experience is difficult in NYC in this regard. We were very close in getting the new space but multiple problems came up, both financial and legal which made it suddenly not possible.
If anyone has any good ideas we would certainly be glad to entertain them but at this point we need to stop the losses BK creates for us, something that has been surprisingly hard for us to decide. Many people have stated before that their CF experience at Black Box Brooklyn has been singular and I couldn't agree more. For me personally, this has been a wrenching issue and we haven't discussed it with the membership because we believe you shouldn't have to be burdened with running our business.

-Court

We need about $12,000 income per month to break even in our current space (about 80 members, or double our current membership).

We need about $18,000 income per month to break even in a new location (about 120 members, or triple our current membership).

We can't fit 80 members in our current location, and we need to commit to a five-year lease for a new location, plus about one year of legal challenges to build showers.

Even if we knew with certainty (and we dont) that we could get to 120 member over the next 18 months, we would need to burn through $150,000 - $200,000 to get there.

As someone who as a member and coach of CFNYC for quite a long time now plus one of the founders of the BBB, I can say that everything anyone has suggested has been done a number of times already, throughout the past few years. I can still remember my wife and I creating the original designs for ads, and other ex-members of the gym ordering the post cards and signs. We used to go around all over putting those cards out and trying to drum up business. I spent many a meeting/phone conference,/ face to face with each owner fighting to keep the Brooklyn spot open in the past. Fact is I can honestly say the ownership have tried many ways to keep it open. Hell I just went through a number of the old Base-camp messages (anyone remember all those fucking emails?!?!) and I can assure you much has been tried. Just appears, despite it all, its not feasible.

That being said, As one of maybe 2-3 BBB OGs left, its sad to see that space go. I remember moving into the place and thinking, "are you fucking kidding me? Now this is a gym!" At that time, the place for some was a way to get away from a certain he-who-should-not-be-named. For others it was just fun to see what the hell we could do until it was all over. It was filled with god knows what so we only had part of the front space to train in. I remember working out there with no lights, trying to get our workouts over in time before there wasn't a shred of sunlight left, not to mention having to use a flash light to get to the bathroom. There was waiting around for National Grid on several occasions for power, and wishing maybe it wasn't such a good idea when we saw the bathroom. There was the first time in the basement. Pretty much the last time as well. There was the attack of the mosquitos, the searing heat, finally getting the 2nd door open, the intense cold, the jet engine, the huge polar ice caps on the roof. There was the Skills Seminar, then the Skills Challenge, the Halloween party, and the time when we forced Melissa Urban to do pull-ups even though she didn't want too! I can tell you those first few months of beginners we ran through the doors was great! Still some of those guys around as well. Im forgetting a number of other things I know (some I think are for the sake of my sanity). Its been a few months since I've last been a strong part of the BBB, but I can say it will surely be a sad day when the doors shut for good.

I'm really sad that it had to come to this. This place was my first cross fit experience..the only box I've ever known. The place where I got my first real pull up.. where I cried during Angie. I've met and worked out with a lot of great people and made a lot of good friends here. There was a really great sense of community here.
I really appreciate all the hard work that all the coaches especially Moon and Torch put in to keep this place alive for this long.

Closing day is going to be really sad for me.

is it possible to get a breakdown of costs? like what the space costs per month? utilities? misc? what it would cost to buy the equipment currently in the gym. I am assuming the $12000/month includes paying for coaches.

is it even possible to continue leasing that space or is that lease gone and someone else is taking it?

This is an unfortunate turn of events. I had hoped you guys would have managed to figure out a way to continue out of both a sense of personal nostalgia and because every successful CrossFit gym helps lift their branch's neighbors.

I will treasure my many fine memories of the place and hope that others will as well.

nice post. thanks.

great post as usual!

I don't doubt that the owners have looked into every possible option to keep a Brooklyn location open but in the past it's often felt like BBB was kind of a forgotten outpost or the Island of Misfit Crossfitters.

It's sad to think that B3 will be closing and I'm especially disappointed that I'll be on the other side of the world when it does.

Though BBB may not always be as vocal on the blog comments from the sentiments posted a lot of people will definitely be feeling the loss of the box.

So, per Hari's numbers, the gym has been losing $6k/mo for the 18 months i have been a member (108k) and you would need to have double the membership to break even...yet no one thought it wise to involve the members in trying to find ways to up recruitment? I dont want to argue over what has been done, but there are a ton of things that were never done (off the top of my head - Regular classes in Mccarren park-we did this once in 18 months that i am aware of and it was me, moon and thea and that was it, regularly posting videos to facebook showing off our athletes and workouts, profiling members and the transformation that BBB has brought about for the blog/facebook/whatever, etc). I am not trying to solve the problem, i just wish the members were given a chance to try. The box has come to mean a great deal to a lot of us and you are telling us it has been dying the whole time it has been up...as a tight knit community I would have thought we would have been more involved in trying to save it...

I agree with Chris in that we have always felt a bit forgotten in the CFNYC world (has CFNYC ever failed to be open during a scheduled time? Has CFNYC ever gone days on end with no blog post? Has CFNYC ever had to endure with a single GHD held together by duct tape and saran wrap?)

If you would have needed 3x the membership (and 150-200k) to move to the new space, was that ever a real possibility?

Great post, Craig.

a few questions/comments:

1. I will coach for free if it keeps the box open.

2. I will pay a higher monthly rate to keep the box open.

3. I feel like I may not be the only one to consider 1. and/or 2.

4. why does brooklyn have the tightest knit community but the worst space/amenities?

5. why do a vast majority of cfnyc's best athletes train in brooklyn, even when they live closer to manhattan?

6. in recent weeks/months, classes during weeknights have been overflowing out of the box onto metropolitan. how was it ever part of our business plan to double our membership from where it is now? this seems physically impossible.

I would still like a breakdown of the costs. I think the conversation is going to eventually wind up going the way of do we have the option to form some kind of consortium and the members take it over. If we didn't pay trainers what is it going to cost every month to run this place? If the options are losing the gym or turning it into a private gym for the X number of us that want to use it, if those are the only 2 options that's something worthy of discussion to me. I think it's safe to say the current ownership is done with this so it's basically up to the current members if we want to continue to have a gym. To Cain's 6th point, i've noticed to crowd as of late and dealing with the lack of space at times and been happy and annoyed at the same time because we needed the people to stay alive but lots of people gets uncomfortable. Somehow we wound up losing a gym and having too many people for it which doesn't make that much sense.

I'm one of the new folks. I've been coming for a month but am way into it and do not want to lose the gym. I think we need to have a face to face meeting with everyone that is interested in keeping this gym going. Owners too. I feel we are entitled to more of a discussion than posting comments to an announcement that we've lost our gym. Kind of a bummer and not very empowering. I'll show up whenever to hash this all out.

Its like deja vu all over again...

I second the idea of a town hall meeting.
We should plan it for next week- maybe Monday- thats when everyone seems to come in.

I am in for the town hall. I would love to explore the possibilities of keeping the gym open. If the current owners could share the current financials that would be very helpful. Barring that, I think we should all get together anyway to try and brainstorm solutions.

Hey all, I don't know if all our efforts will be too little too late, but I'm definitely interested in learning what our options might be. I'm out of town for the month of May, but would like to be kept in the loop. My email address is emerson DOT hoff AT gmail DOT com. Let me know if there is any way I can help out!

I'm in whenever it suits the rest of you to talk this over. Will we have the participation of at least one of the owners?

I'm more than willing to meet with everybody to discuss this. I will say that many of the points that have been brought up have already been mulled and argued amongst the owners already but if next Monday works for everyone as has been previously suggested, I'll be there.

in for the town hall and fully supportive of any contingency plans proposed. what time are people thinking? 8pm?

WOD and Elements class are both running at 8pm

I think that it is a great idea that the members have a meeting the owners where they can field each others questions and get some insight into what is going on with the space. I feel it is definitely in the best interest of the members and coaches to know. It is the equivalent of getting kicked out of your apartment with a week left to find a new place to live. I definitely agree with Justin thor about what's been happening at BBB being one of the OG's of this place. It dodnt seem like a big deal when I was training here in the early days but when you've been here for a while and coaching, I never heard that things were great with the business. I remember hearing Hari say that we were "hemorrhaging" since we first opened. He can explain better tban I. Justin thor pretty much hit it on the head but I agree that new members with no idea what's going have the right to hear what's going on directly from the owners.

Why don't we entered the American Dodgeball Association of America (ADAA) International Dodgeball Competition in Las Vegas? The $50,000.00 cash prize should buy us some time!?!

I can see that this has got to be painful for those of you who have been part of this community for a while, and having been to a few workouts I can see why. It seems like a lot of very good questions have been raised, and as I'm new, I can't really comment on what's been done, what could be done, etc.

I do want to raise one issue (and it's the one that pertains to me) -- why were you still booking elements classes up until the last minute under what seems to be false pretenses (as you've described the situation, you would have had to win the lottery to keep the place open, and you knew that for a while)? I never wanted to join a gym in Manhattan. In fact, I specifically got involved with this Crossfit affiliate bc of its Brooklyn location. I know this pales in comparison to the experience of those who've invested in the BBB community for 2 years, but, yeah: I feel ripped off. No, actually, since the elements stuff is not transferable to other affiliates, I have been ripped off. The BBB community seems great, but honestly, I don't have the best impression of how the business is run. Even if Manhattan were an option for me, based on this? Completely blindsiding people who've obviously dedicated themselves to the gym? No thanks.

Again, I know it pales in comparison, but I want my money back. It's small comfort considering I was really psyched about the Brooklyn location, but it's the principle of the thing.

I am also down for the dodgeball tournament, but only if we get matching track suits.

oh oops -- if there's a way to keep it going, either at a new location or under different owners (or both), I'd also be down with that. Like I said, so far BBB seems like a gym I wanna be a part of, although the financials as described are not encouraging. And space in wburg is not cheap. So...who knows.

I don't wanna have to go to Virtuosity.

This is sad fuckin news.

If there isn't a last play to save it
and the unthonkable happens.
I hope the BBB gets a proper send off.

Funny how a fucked up lil garage
brought so many people together.

Has there been any effort to negotiate lower rent at the current location? I know landlords aren't in the business of charity but surely there's not a lot going on at the intersection of Metropolitan and Bushwick that warrants what it appears we are paying.... especially not in this economy. Maybe I'm just a bit wide-eyed to the nature of doing business in NY but there's not much to lose at this point.... then we could sell a bunch of stuff to cover the difference. I mean really, what are they going to do with that location other than let us use it? Film the SAW VII or HOSTEL 4 or something?!?!

Whatever happens... Old and new BBB'ers alike need to have a proper send off!

So what time on what day? If Monday doesn't work due to Elements then what about Tuesday? Or whenever.

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