New York City-based cycling studio and retailer SoulCycle is shutting its last Canadian location, exiting the market after operating here for five years. The company had planned a national expansion and ended up only opening three storefronts, two of which have already closed.
The last Canadian SoulCycle location will shut at Toronto’s Yorkville Village shopping centre . That SoulCycle location opened in the summer of 2017 in a 4,038 square foot retail space featuring frontage onto Avenue Road and with a doorway into the shopping centre across from an upscale Art Gallery. An Equinox gym will continue to operate at Yorkville Village.
SoulCycle’s first Canadian location opened in the spring of 2017 at 425 King Street West in Toronto, near Spadina Avenue. The 4,000 square foot location closed earlier on in the pandemic. A source with knowledge of the situation told Retail Insider at the time that SoulCycle pulled the plug amid disagreements over rent with the landlord.
In Vancouver, SoulCycle opened a 3,518 square foot location in the city’s Yaletown area in the summer of 2017. That location closed in the spring of this year and another spin studio, YVR Cycle Spin Studio recently replaced it.
On Saturday it was reported that SoulCycle would be closing 19 locations, and Toronto was on the list. CEO Evelyn Webster announced the closures in a meeting with employees on Friday morning according to leaked audio from the meeting shared with Business Insider.
“The timing was appropriate to look at our studio footprint by market to understand whether we continue to believe that we had indeed oversaturated some markets, and the conclusion is that after much work and analysis that perhaps we have,” Webster said.
The Canadian closure obviously isn’t due to an over-saturation situation in Toronto, rather it was the remaining location for the company in Canada. It remains to be seen if SoulCycle will re-enter the Canadian market at some point in the future.
A source at a competing spin studio told Retail Insider that SoulCycle entered the Canadian market at a time when local companies were opening similar concepts to gain marketshare. SPINCO, for example, has 25 locations nationally with more to come, and local markets such as Edmonton have homegrown concepts such as YEG Cycle.
And SoulCycle’s upscale strategy may not have been one to resonate with the majority of Canadians — the same source said that while SoulCycle positions itself as a ‘luxury’ competitor, homegrown studios in Canada in many cases embrace inclusivity.
SoulCycle incorporates upper body exercises and high-energy music into each class, set in a dark candlelit room. SoulCycle has been known for its cult following of riders, with a loyal clientele in the past such as Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, David Beckham, Demi Lovato, and Lady Gaga.
The company also offers a range of men and women’s athletic wear, in a separate retail space. The merchandise mix features branded SoulCycle gear.
SoulCycle was founded by Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice in 2006. The company was acquired by Equinox Holdings Inc. in 2011, which currently operates three Equinox Fitness locations in Toronto and Vancouver (with more said to be on the way). Equinox Fitness is a subsidiary of The Related Companies.