San Francisco CrossFit, 15-Year-Old Legend Affiliate, Closes Up Shop

November 4, 2020 by
Photo credit: San Francisco CrossFit (instagram.com/sfcf/)
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San Francisco CrossFit will officially close on November 15, 2020.

It’s the end of a legendary gym in the industry. The reasons behind its closing are many, but they all stem from the same thing: COVID-19. 

In an email sent to the membership announcing the closure, Kelly and Juliet Starrett, the owners of the gym, said they were optimistic during the first few weeks of sheltering in place:

  • They had no debt. 
  • They received the PPP.
  • They were pivoting online.

But eight months later, the story has changed. In the email, the Starrett’s said the gap between their monthly revenue and overhead costs was significant; equipment theft, loss of staff and cleaning/sanitation operational costs have been additional pain points. 

And with a second wave of closures looming as cases spike, they had to make a choice.

  • “Making a decision of this significance (and this quickly) has been deeply emotional for both of us. We also know that sometimes doing the right thing is also doing the hard thing,” wrote Kelly and Juliet Starrett.

Why it matters: San Francisco CrossFit is one of the oldest CrossFit gyms in the world and has made an incredible impact on the industry. Legends have come out of the gym who have changed the face of CrossFit forever.

Well-known names like Adrian Bozman, Carl Paoli, Diane Fu and many others started at San Francisco CrossFit. They’ve come to influence the industry in judging, gymnastics and Olympic weightlifting. Kelly Starrett created The Ready State (originally MobilityWOD) in 2008, which is customized mobility coaching and a leader in the industry.

In the email, the owners share that their gym was more than a place to workout: it was an idea.

  • “An idea made great by the people who earned it, sweated for it, cheered for it and called it their own,” they wrote.
  • “While the current iteration of San Francisco CrossFit will be sliding closed its doors, we remain optimistic that one of our staff will pick up the baton and run with it at a different location that might be more sustainable. We are hopeful that with a reset, the gym can find its way through the uncertainty of the post-COVID world.”
  • Long-time SanFrancisco Crossfit coach, Diane Fu: “San Francisco CrosSFit has been a bedrock in my life. The friendships, the coaching experiences and the growth of my practice from being a young coach to now is something that I will carry with me as I move forward into my next life path.”
  • Previous San Francisco CrossFit coach and member from 2006 to 2011, Adrian Bozman: “When Kelly opened [my friend Sean Pizel and I] went up and took some of his classes. Kelly and I hit it off and started ‘talking shop’ in person and back and forth on email.”
  • After a few weeks, Bozman coached while Kelly Starrett was out of town and then was invited to jump on board to help expand the program. “Those days were raw, unglamourous and full of potential with the back-lot that served as the early San Francisco CrossFit as our blank canvas. I’m forever grateful to Kelly and Juliet for the opportunity to contribute to such a unique piece of physical culture.”

The bottom line: The CrossFit industry has been undeniably impacted by San Francisco CrossFit. To Kelly and Juliet Starrett, as well as the staff and members who have made up the community over the years: thank you for all you’ve done, for all you’ve changed and for all you will be forever remembered.

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