Two Lincoln Park gyms a block apart close; Owners blame the pandemic

DeCO Fitness will close its doors at the end of August. (Courtesy DeCO Fitness)

Two gyms a block away from each other along Santa Fe Drive in Lincoln Park are calling it quits, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Awaken Gym, a gymnastics-inspired gym, and DeCO Fitness, a former CrossFit affiliate, recently announced their closures on social media.

Awaken, at 777 Santa Fe Drive, opened in 2013.

Awaken Gym, which has been open on Santa Fe Dr. for seven years, announced its closure last week. (Courtesy Awaken Gym)

“After seven years of operating at the Santa Fe location in Denver, it is now time to move on,” founder Orench Lagman wrote. “… We did try to make this work and wanted badly for relocation to be an option, but, financially it’s just too risky especially considering the future unknowns with regard to COVID and gyms specifically.”

Awaken’s workouts combined yoga practices and traditional gymnastics techniques focused on the use of body weight, balance and functional movement. The gym featured monkey bars, a spring board, rings, rope climbs and stall bars.

Lagman was a personal trainer for more than 20 years and previously helped coach the USA men’s and women’s taekwondo programs, as well as the Olympic volleyball, wrestling and speed skating teams, according to the gym’s website. He did not respond to a request for comment.

DeCO Fitness’s founder Leslie Friedman, meanwhile, said in a video on Instagram earlier this week that the gym will close its brick-and-mortar location at 923 W. 9th Ave. at the end of the month.

DeCO Fitness owner Leslie Friedman

“Being closed down for COVID sent us into a tough financial situation, which was pretty unavoidable, and the reality is the type of business that we run in a type of space that we lease is dependent on a volume-based model,” Friedman told BusinessDen. “Ultimately, people are nervous about coming back in and understandably so, and we just simply didn’t have the volume to support the type of overhead that a brick-and-mortar necessitates.”

DeCO Fitness originally opened in 2012 as CrossFit DeCO. Friedman dropped her affiliation with the CrossFit brand in June after remarks made by CrossFit CEO Greg Glassman about the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Friedman, who is pregnant for the first time, said she is looking forward to the next chapter in her life. She plans to offer the same high-intensity workouts, yoga, physical therapy, massage and nutrition services that DeCO Fitness provided in-person on YouTube.

“It’s been nearly nine years, and it’s been an amazing run,” she said. “We wanted to go out on a positive, high note, and I know DeCO 2.0 will take shape in some form or fashion. I’m not closing the business, just the location.”

DeCO Fitness and Awaken Gym are just two of many Denver gym closures that have resulted since the pandemic shutdown. Check out BusinessDen’s running list for more.

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