After 10 years on Front Street in TC, the pandemic has claimed one of the most influential, welcoming, and meaningful places in our area. It’s so much more than just a studio. It’s a group of people who haven given back to the community since day one, and has connected a disparate group of people into a family that supports each other, cares about each other, and will keep the memories and teaching of Yen forever.
I started teaching at Yen almost seven years ago. I figured it’d be a nice way to make some extra cash, meet some new people, and then give it up when I got too busy. Over the course of the next few years, however, Yen’s people became a second family to me. The connections I’ve made there are friendships that I truly hope continue for years to come. I’m closer to many of the clients and staff at Yen than I am with most of my actual family members – I certainly see them far more frequently. If you’d have told me this would all happen back when I started, I wouldn’t have believed you. But man, I’m sure glad this is how it’s worked out, even if I knew it wasn’t going to last forever.
Kolo’s relationship with Yen began years and years ago when we asked the former manager (and now my wife) Renee and Sara Harding if we could borrow the studio one Sunday morning for a fundraiser. Not only did they let us, they even wrote us a big fat check.
Since that first donation class, kolo, with the incredibly generous support of Yen clients, has raised over $15,000 over the course of seven years for area non-profits like the Father Fred Foundation, the NMC Foundation, Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan, Safe Harbor, Norte, the Leelanau Conservancy, the Sisters in Singletrack, TART, and countless other organizations. Simply put, there’s no way we could have done this without Yen’s application of promotion, accommodation, and generous spirit. We owe Yen so much for setting an example of active giving, as well as putting us in a position to help others in our community.
We wish Yen’s physical space wasn’t going away. Obviously. I’ll miss my cycling buds more than I can tell you, and I’d risk soaking this keyboard in tears if I went into the details of all the great stories, people, and memories that Yen has created for me. To the people who showed up to my class, put up with my stories and terrible jokes, and still came back the next time I taught – you know who you are. Thank you. It means the world to me that you showed up spandex to ride nowhere with me. I honestly have no idea why you guys kept showing up, but you did. I won’t ever forget it.
As the physical studio winds down, I strongly encourage you to stay connected to Yen on Facebook and Instagram. Find a class that works for you (bring your mask) and say goodbye to the Front St studio, or see what this whole “yoga” and “indoor cycling” thing is all about for the first time before it changes forms for good.
To a long-time sponsor, to a loving community, and to a business run by people I call my good friends, thank you for everything you’ve given to us and our community.