It is the end of an era. As I write this, I am both looking back at how I got here and looking forward toward the new era to come.
I married Chris Kayser at 21, one week after my college graduation. That year I also started teaching high school theology. A year after that, I decided to work toward and graduate with my Masters in Teaching. Those early 20’s were a jam packed JUMP into adulthood – years marked by learning – how to be married, how to be a working professional, and how to cook dinner every night. I also became a mother in my 20’s, and I started my deep dive into the multifaceted world of mothering babies and toddlers. Those first 10 years were marked by risk and surrender with an equal dose of bravery and vulnerability. I look back and feel truly grateful that I had the personal stamina and Chris’ partnership to thrive during those years.
In my 30’s, I had a couple more children and was living in a lovely, lively world of children and play dates, mommies and happy hours, school community and volunteering, the kids’ teams and carpools, church community and getting to weekly mass 5 minutes late – 4 kids with bed head in tow. I was still learning how to be married, how to make nightly dinner now for 6-8 people. I was also learning about raising young children, and building the fabric of connectedness in my neighborhood. Every day was an exercise in “controlled chaos” and in the end I decided that everyone from children, dogs, and bunnies should be free range. I also decided to re-enter the work force and became a personal trainer. (Seemed like a good idea, my 4th child had started nursery school, and I had “time” now!) I was working out daily to stay sane – why not spread the gospel of movement to my fellow mommies? We were in this together! At 39, I opened The Refinery. Chris was there, questioning and encouraging in equal measure.
When I opened The Refinery, it was a natural extension of a growing passion – my passion for connecting with people, for fitness, and my love for my community. So in my 40s, I was learning how to run a business, manage trainers and clients, and raise tweens and teens. Oh! and learning how to stay married and keep everyone fed! The ramp-up that started in my 20s just kept going! And just like there was so much love when I married Chris, and then even more love when we added the children, there was even more love added as the people that make up the The Refinery entered the picture. More mayhem = more love. They seemed to go hand in hand. It was the next chapter of risk and surrender, bravery and vulnerability!
When I race up Fremont each morning, I come to the space with the heart of a mother, looking out for the interests of those who call this home. The Refinery is a home to me, and I hope it has been for those of you that have spent time with us. I may not run this business like I would have had I gone to business school, but I run it like I run my home – where everyone is welcome and important and accountable. I hope when folks are here, they become more grounded, feel accepted, feel significant, and over time, grow into better versions of themselves. Just like the home, it has its own quirky personality – marked by being “free range,” sometimes the gym is a little messy, or class starts a little late, the conversations are random and real, sometimes there is excitement, or a little drama, and there’s often teasing and joking with the never-ending task of building a stronger, better moving body as the foundation. The Refinery is alive with the wide variety of the people who walk through the doors, and that’s a beautiful way to run a home and a business.
The Pandemic provided an opportunity for me to test my dedication to my passion project. It was a difficult few years, but the Refinery successfully survived the Pandemic, and as many can tell, has made a complete recovery. The toughest days at the gym are always made brighter because of the camaraderie of our trainers and instructors – each one brings their ray of sun and shines it into our daily lives. The years of the pandemic and its rebuilding were certainly inspired by the dedication of my colleagues. While you may very rarely see our office manager, Sarah, she is an integral part of the foundation on which our gym has been built and rebuilt. I am also genuinely grateful for the people who remained, re-joined, and newly joined during the last 10 years and brought us all back on our feet! We actually outlived our lease (twice) and in the restaurant business, that is often the stamp of success. Like a fit body, our success story of the pandemic came with a bit of pain and lots of resilience – the fact that we never faltered is a group victory!
As I look ahead to my 50s, I have begun to feel the urge to slow down. I have a desire to start building a life chapter marked by simplicity and spontaneity. I want to reconnect with Chris, my children, my mom and grandmother, and my community in a different way. I’m not sure what shape this will take, but I do know that at this moment I sit squarely in the space where success and happiness meet. My gut tells me, too, that there are less complicated ways to volunteer besides running a business. The lease of The Refinery space ends in June, and on June 3rd, we will have our last classes. I hope we can savor this last month of workouts, playlists, and classes. While there may be a sense of loss and sorrow, I hope we can also feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in this fitness community we have built and belonged to together.
I will work with the trainers to find their next spots, and I encourage you to stay connected to them and each other. My heart is so full with you, your dedication to your health and wellness, your support of this local, small business, and the people you work out with each week. And I also know it’s time for me to close this chapter. There will be another chapter for all of us, and we will take the fullness of these years with us wherever we go.
In fun and fitness,
Refunds & Prorates
We understand that you may have concerns about using the rest of your packages before we close our doors. Know that any unused portion of your packages will be refunded in June. Additionally, we will be prorating all contracts whose payment cycles end mid June. All unused portions of the month will be refunded.
Sarah will be closing accounts in June and processing all refunds. She will make sure you receive the most out of your remaining packages. Please reach out to her with any questions or concerns. She can be reached via text, phone, or email.
503-593-7035 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Sale on All Our Merch!
All of our Refinery Merch is now 50% off! Come get a piece of history!