By Lisa Teichner
We had planned to tell a story about the huge, successful grand opening event, 1st Jiu-Jitsu tournament and MMA fight night held on Saturday, Jan. 22 at the new Maui Elite Fitness space in Waikapu. How it was a big day for the folks at Maui Elite and an even bigger day for the Maui fight school community. Over 50 competitors from schools all over the island came together to compete and over 300 spectators came to support the fights and celebrate that night.
This was the story that we had planned to tell.
We anxiously tried to contact the gym operator to get some inspirational, exciting quotes and the story behind the event’s great success. When we finally spoke to the gym operator and told him the grand opening event was to be the new topic for MauiNow.com, he said “Well, that’s ironic, I will be closing the doors on Friday. “
This may come as a surprise to some but it was no surprise to co-owner and operator, Shaun Doyle. For Shaun this has not been a profitable endeavor. He proceeded to explain that this day has been coming for a long time. As it turned out, the success of Saturday’s event was not enough to revive the already struggling business, Doyle expressed that it also became “the final nail in the coffin”.
Three and a half years ago Doyle purchased Lindy’s Fitness for Life (dba Shapemakers) for $50,000. In its first year in operation the gym lost an additional $50,000. He proceeded to pour another $100,000 in the form of weights, mats, cage, cardio equipment, and showers, driven by a vision to create the ultimate training facility. At one point there were 5 different martial arts schools holding classes in the gym. “I have a passion. But you know what? Passion doesn’t pay bills. Financial advisors told me 2 years ago that I was crazy.” Doyle’s average monthly expenses were $7,000 and his average monthly income was $4,500. You do the math.
“I tried leasing part of the space out to a Barber, massage therapists, there were people living in there. I tried retail!”
Doyle felt terrible that he could not compensate his trainers who worked so hard, volunteering their time as he did to keep his struggling business and vision alive.
All business owners understand the challenges of running a business. If you want to achieve success you have to take risks. Sometimes they work out (no pun intended) and sometimes they don’t.
Shaun did bring in a partner, Bill Lane, owner of Lane’s Carpet, to assist with the financial management but it may have been too little too late.
It’s really a shame to see the place close. Especially after the Maui community embraced last weekend’s heavily attended grand opening event. One could say it’s a good way to go out.
“At some point you have to start making yourself happy. This is for my own sanity, livelihood and life with my son.”
“Maybe the trainers can take over. Maybe I’ll pack all of the equipment in a 40 foot container, sell it cheap and ship it off to the mainland.”
Anybody want to buy a gym?