Three days after moving to a new location, Imperial Beach's IB Yoga studio found itself homeless on Christmas Eve.
The studio had moved on the weekend of December 19th into the location of Clube de Jiu Jitsu Pitbull, planning to share space with the Brazilian martial arts club located in Silver Strand Plaza at 600 Palm Avenue. But IB Fitness is also located in the plaza, which caused a conflict because IB Fitness also offers yoga classes. So, on December 23rd, IB Yoga taught their third and last class in their former new home and started looking for another location.
"We are moving again!" said a mass-email message from the business on December 24th.
Asked about IB Yoga, Josh Breckenridge, general manager of IB Fitness, said, "They want to take food off my table…. Of course I don't support it — I'm not going to support any competing business…. We have the first right of refusal. We've been teaching yoga here for 24 years."
When asked how many yoga classes are taught at IB Fitness, Breckenridge said, “We have 15 to 20." When asked exactly how many, Breckenridge said, "I'd rather not give you that information...it doesn't matter if we teach one or we teach fifty."
The weekly IB Fitness schedule posted online lists four yoga classes. Breckenridge said the schedule does not reflect the additional private lessons given by yoga teachers.
"It's black-and-white," Breckenridge said about the non-competition clause that tenants sign in order to lease space in Silver Strand Plaza. "I'm sure [the owner of the martial arts studio] would not be happy if we started teaching Brazilian jiu jitsu…. There's a sushi place here. What if I wanted to offer sushi? I couldn't."
The plaza’s property managers initiated the action against IB Yoga, Breckenridge said. “They came in and spoke to us."
Repeated calls to Colleen Nemeth, the plaza's general manager, were not returned.
Some plaza business owners had a negative opinion on the refusal to allow IB Yoga to stay.
"Why? That's bullshit," said Christopher Daws-Knowles, who owns Aunt Ellen's Water, when he heard the news of the studio being asked to leave. "The liquor store sells water. Am I going to go to tell them at the get-go not to sell water?"
Other businesses said they understood the property manager's action.
"They [the property managers] told me the same thing," said Sonny Lu of Meijo's Sushi. Because of the non-competition agreement, "I cannot do Chinese food. That's their policy, I respect that policy."
Formerly, the yoga studio was located in a stand-alone building on Seacoast Drive but moved because the owner of their building was looking into expanding. Once the construction gets started, "they would've had to move," said Jesse Ramirez, the owner of the building at 717 Seacoast Drive.
The yoga folks are apparently optimistic about finding a new home quickly.
"We will open our doors on Saturday, January 2, 2016 for a 10a class," the email from the business said. "Stay tuned for the new location and address."
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified ECP Commercial as the leasing manager of the plaza.