Where we are:
Upon returning to the studio after maternity leave, I talked to a prospective member who shared that she used to work out at the boxing studio next door and was devastated to lose her community. She mentioned off the cuff that she got a text on a Tuesday, and they closed that Thursday; she said she’d reached out to the owner to ask if she could buy the studio, to which the reply was, “We are so upside down you wouldn’t want to” and her response was “well, shouldn’t that have been something he left up to me to decide.” After walking away from this conversation, I was highly emotional. On my drive home that night, I thought to myself, if our community knew the situation we were in personally due to the sacrifices we’ve made to build this incredible space at the studio, I truly believe they would want to know & help. So I walked in the door when I got home and told my husband we would have a fundraiser. I would explain the situation to our community and, with vulnerability, ask them to help us without fear of judgment and shame. I am a big believer in Brene Brown and hold her methodology close throughout my leadership and parenting, and as I dare to lead our community, I know that I cannot continue to suffer in silence.
Where we've been & how we got here:
Here’s the thing: when we bought Pure Barre Fort Collins in 2019, we could have never known the insane journey we were about to embark on. And when people ask me if I regret buying a fitness franchise just before the pandemic, I wholeheartedly respond I wouldn’t change it for the world. It has continued to change and shaped me into the strong woman I am today. Are there days I wish I didn’t have to encounter along the way sure? But it’s a ride worth taking and has shown me what true community and resilience look like.
Shortly after I married my husband, I launched my wedding planning business in 2017. And after my first daughter, Olivia, now 5, was born, I knew that my life was changed forever, like most moms, I yearned for more time with her. I was working in marketing at the time and rarely worked a typical 40-hour work week, and many evenings/weekends were spent working as well. While I’ve never been afraid of hard work, I longed for flexibility. So, in October 2018, I decided to quit my job in April, pursue a full-time career in wedding planning, and return to my passion for group fitness. While opening back old doors, I stumbled upon the opportunity to buy Pure Barre Fort Collins in December 2018. As I began to pursue this, every fiber in my being told me to go full speed ahead; we hit several road bumps along the way but ultimately were able to close on the studio sale in May 2019.
By February 2020, we had doubled our revenue and member base, and the studio was thriving, but little did we know what lay ahead. As we were forced to shut our doors, we immediately took virtual operations and offered live Zoom classes the next day without pause. We assumed we’d be closed for two weeks. But you know how that story goes.
You may not know that several businesses took out EIDL / natural disaster loans throughout that time. I distinctly remember applying for this loan, thinking it would be a safety net, never imagining having to use the money and imagining we’d use the money we received to repay it. Well, 3.5 years later, we’ve used every last penny to continue to grow our business back to where it was previously. And I’m happy to say that as of July 2023, we were finally in the black. If you walk through my studio doors today, you’ll see an empowered team of 14 women, soon to be 21, a thriving & supportive community, and 54 classes per week on the schedule.
It’s important to note that during 2020-2021, we did not simply sit back and rely on these loans. I took on a full-time job in addition to owning the studio and welcoming our twins in August 2020 to maintain our life and contribute to our growing family.
This past spring, my husband and I decided to sell our home to give us a little breathing room as I decided to return to the studio full-time in April of 2021. At that time, the studio was still not profitable, so we needed to alleviate some pressure somewhere.
We welcomed our family's 6th (and final) member in July, just two days after moving to Windsor into a rental home. I’ve just returned from maternity leave to start teaching classes again and was feeling the overwhelming burden of this loan that continues to haunt us personally despite the thriving community I get to take part in today.