May 4, 2016 By Michael Florio
More than 200 people have signed a petition to save a local yoga studio, just days after the owner announced it will close at the end of the month.
Mimi Yoga For Me Studio, located on the second floor of 76-11 37th Ave., notified clients Friday that its last day will be May 31.
The studio has been operating out of its second floor space for the past five years. However, owner Mimi Borda said she has been renting without a lease for the past year.
She said she fears that her landlord will offer the space to a neighboring tenant that is looking to expand or will raise the rent.
Borda said she wants to run her business with a sense of stability and that it would be unfair to her members if she were to abruptly shut.
However, her members are not taking the impending closure lightly.
Days after Borda notified her clients, a petition to save the local studio launched on Change.org.
The petition was started on Tuesday, and by Wednesday afternoon it had garnered 250 signatures.
“There is no other yoga studio like this in the area,” the petition reads.
The studio caters to students from Jackson Heights as well as Woodside, Elmhurst, Corona and Sunnyside, according to the petition.
“We cannot imagine this vibrant community—whose members number in the hundreds, yet still feels intimate—being forced out of its home due to a real estate dispute and the pandemic of rising rents,” the petition reads. “It would be a tragic loss, and one of the early dominos to fall in what will ultimately result in a dramatically changed neighborhood.”
Borda said she is grateful that her members went to this extent to save her business.
“It means the world to me,” she said. “This is not about me anymore, but the community we have built at this studio.”
The petition will be delivered to Council Member Daniel Dromm.
However, Dromm said that while he wants to help Borda, his hands are tied.
“I can’t tell a landlord not to raise their rent,” Dromm said. “That is a private decision between the renter and the landlord.”
Dromm added that this issue is between the landlord, Queens Pride House – which subleases the building – and Borda.
“I reached out to Mimi and told her I want to help,” Dromm said. “But even she is unsure how I could.”
Dromm said he has received a lot of complaints over the years of Queens Pride House raising rents and evicting tenants.
The Queens Pride House could not be reached for comment as of this writing.
Borda first opened Mimi For Me Yoga on Roosevelt Ave and 79th Street in February 2010. She moved to her current location five years ago.
Prior to starting her own businesses Borda taught yoga classes in a dance studio.