Yoga Alameda and Team Silva Brazilian Jiu Jitsu open in a new Park Street location next week. Photo by Janice Worthen.
After a long and frustrating renovation of the old A-1 Vacuum & Sewing location on Park Street, Sergio Silva of Team Silva Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and his wife, Rebecca Trissell of Yoga Alameda, are planning to open their his-and-hers studio Tuesday.
Yoga Alameda will be open on Saturday during Park Street’s customer appreciation event (more on that below) to sell passes for a month of unlimited yoga for $75. Both businesses will open officially on Tuesday.
The couple hoped to open their joint studio last weekend, but had to push their opening date forward due to another setback in a series of setbacks: The city told the couple they wouldn’t be able to provide a final inspection of the studio until Monday – or later (Trissell was able to call and get an earlier inspection). Meanwhile, Trissell said she and her husband have been losing money and business waiting for the city’s approval.
Although both knew that opening their own place would take time and money, neither Silva nor Trissell was prepared for just how much of both they’d have to spend. Trissell said the whole process was like having another baby; she and Silva have a 5-year-old son and an 11-month-old daughter.
Silva and Trissell have dreamed of having their own space for a long time. Silva, who has won martial arts tournaments and taught others who went on to be champions themselves, has been teaching Brazilian jiu jitsu since 1993. Trissell has practiced yoga since 1998 and has been teaching since 2007. The couple had been renting studio space on Lincoln Avenue, but they struggled to accommodate both businesses in that location: Trissell said she often had to have her yoga classes at random times to work around Silva’s martial arts classes.
Silva said they envisioned a place where martial arts and yoga, or “fire and water” as he put it, could exist together, but the reality has not met their vision just yet. With the renovation of the Park Street location behind them, Silva is excited that the couple’s vision is now closer to being realized.
Silva said the couple had to bring in an architect first who could provide a plan for the renovation, and Trissell said it took more than a month and a half to get all the necessary permits before work could even start; it took at least six weeks for the city to rezone the space because their businesses are not retail or restaurants, and it took another five weeks to get the building permits.
Trissell said Park Street is Alameda’s little gem, and because it is an historic area, there were many things they had to do to preserve the space and bring it up to code in addition to building an ADA-approved bathroom. Silva said the wait for permits was so hard because it made it difficult to hold on to contractors who couldn’t or wouldn’t wait for the permits to come in. Silva and Trissell also didn’t negotiate a long enough rent deferral and have had to pay rent on their space without being able to use it.
Trissell said their inability to provide an exact opening date has also been hard on customers; she has announced their opening on her business’s Facebook page only to have to apologize when they couldn’t honor the date. During the renovation, Silva’s and Trissell’s customers have had to travel to Silva’s Hayward studio or put their sessions on hold until the new location opened.
City Planner Andrew Thomas said he felt the process went smoothly from the city’s end, though he acknowledged that people who are new to the planning and permitting process are often surprised by how complex it is. Thomas said business owners have many state and city codes to meet, and while it’s not easy to build in California, he said the city tries to move things along as quickly as possible because Alameda wants small businesses to open here.
Since the studio wasn’t listed among the uses that are already permitted on Park Street, the process took a little longer than it may have for another type of business because the city is required to provide notice that a new use has been proposed and to obtain feedback from other business owners nearby.
The department is working to process a growing number of building permits without the staff it once employed; half the staff in the city’s planning department was laid off during the recession, in 2009, and the department is wholly funded by the revenue it takes in. Still, Thomas said the city has initiated a new program, “Alameda at Your Service,” intended to make the process run more smoothly for business owners.
Silva said he understands that everything needs to be perfect because of the historic location they chose but that the wait time for permits and the costs of renovating a space on Park Street make it hard for new businesses to get on their feet. Trissell said she has a new respect for what businesses have gone through to be able to operate.
Both Silva and Trissell want the joint space to be family-centered, and Silva said the new location better accommodates this vision because there are so many things for kids to do on and around Park Street. Trissell said the couple will offer a “play date” for children while their parents practice yoga or martial arts. They’ll also offer classes for the whole family, which are hard to find anywhere else: Their offerings will include classes for toddlers in both martial arts and yoga, and Trissell provides yoga for pregnant women as a registered prenatal yoga teacher.
Trissell said that many people in the area have high-stress jobs, and her yoga classes and Silva's martial arts classes provide an opportunity for people to put things on pause and reconnect with their bodies.
"This is a place where the community and families can come together and have fitness fun and activities. All age levels and abilities welcome," she said.
1502 Park Street. Yoga Alameda: http://www.yogaalameda.com/. Team Silva Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: http://www.teamsilvabjj.com/. Open from 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 8:45 a.m. to noon on Sunday.
We offer several type of Classes at our Alameda Martial Arts Team Silva Academy.Start your program today:
Toddler Samurai Classes
Kids Martial Arts with Life Skills
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Kids
Kids Competition Training
Teens Anti Bullying
Adult Self Defense practice.
Adult Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Adult Competition training
Mixed Martial Arts
Combat Fitness Training.
Post Natal Yoga
Baby and Mommy Yoga Classes
Family Yoga Classes.