A popular cycling studio in downtown New Haven has suddenly closed down after four years in business.
Shift Cycling, a technologically driven spin studio, closed its New Haven location last week. Owner and founder of the company Jenn Kuehn emailed her employees on Tuesday night informing them that the business would no longer be in operation starting Wednesday, giving the employees less than twenty-four hours’ notice that they would no longer have jobs there. Shift Cycling now has just one location in the neighboring town of Guilford.
“Life evolves — by now we all know that. Over the past few months you’ve seen a few changes here and there,” Kuehn wrote in her email to Shift customers and employees on March 19. “As a part of transition, we have made the difficult decision to end our presence in New Haven.”
Heidi Shepherd, a cycling instructor and former director of programming and instructor training for Shift, is one of three people that hold equity in the business. In an interview with the News, Shepherd said she was “absolutely shocked” to learn of the store’s closing, and said she had no knowledge of the decision before she received Kuehn’s email.
“I was completely blindsided,” Shepherd told the News. “I was devastated, as was the entire team there … It’s been a really tough week.”
Kuehn did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
According to Shepherd, Kuehn owned the majority of equity and all of the company’s voting rights. Shepherd said that Kuehn told her a few days ago that the new buyers of the Guilford studio made it clear to Kuehn “several months ago” that they were not interested in buying the New Haven location.
Michael Hentschel, the new owner of Shift’s Guilford location, said in an email to the News that he and his wife did not purchase SHiFT Cycling LLC or its New Haven location, and that the company is still owned by Kuehn.
Both Hentschel and Shepherd said that a new studio, JoyRide Cycling, is set to open in May in the same building, and Shepherd has already recommended all of Shift’s employees to its new owners.
“The New Haven spinning community is great, and my instructors are my family,” Shepherd told the News. “When I heard that a new studio was going in, I was overjoyed.”
The Shift Cycling location in New Haven was popular among Yale’s spinning enthusiasts.
Frequent attendee Marina Williams ’20 said that she is sad to see Shift go, as it offered the Elm City a great community of riders, instructors and staff.
Victoria Bonano ’21, one of many University students who worked out at Shift, echoed Williams’ sentiments about Shift’s welcoming community.
“The news that Shift was abruptly closing came as an unfortunate shock to those who rode there, myself included,” Bonano told the News. “Shift provided not only a great fitness studio, but also an amazing group of people.”
Shift’s New Haven studio was located on 199 Crown St.
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