Just Move Fitness and More: A Fitness Boutique That Keeps You Moving!0
When Sara Burhans and Heather Christy met taking Zumba classes at the YMCA back in 2011, they weren’t thinking about opening a business together. They were just two fitness-minded people who liked to have fun while they worked out, and enjoyed the camaraderie of group fitness classes.
Soon these two were approached to lead a “nightclub Zumba” class at a local bar. The word spread and the popularity skyrocketed. People started asking “…where else can we take your classes?” That sparked the idea for what is now known as Just Move Fitness and More.
Sara and Heather opened the doors to their boutique fitness studio in 2012. Veronica Egan came on as a partner in 2015. Burhans recalls, “We taught fitness classes at many traditional gyms where you had to be a member to attend. About 5 years ago, we began noticing that you could take yoga classes at specialty studios without a membership and perhaps a Zumba class at a church, but there wasn’t anywhere where you could have a variety of great fitness classes without a gym membership.” She went on to share, “We saw a market for a place focused on the group and social experience of exercising together. And we wanted the flexibility so that if you still wanted a full-service gym, it was affordable to take the classes you love with us by using drop-ins and punch cards.”
Flexibility is key to the business model Christy and Burhans have developed. Christy shared, “Our goal is to offer the latest and best in effective fitness so we continue to educate ourselves to discover new classes and techniques. We can easily add a demo class and update our schedule to meet changing needs.” Burhans added, “I also think that being smaller allows us to get to know our client base and adapt quicker to trends in the fitness industry."
Niche studios and gyms seem like quite the trend; they are popping up everywhere! However, this rapid growth doesn’t make them nervous. There is enough variety and demand to go around. “Niche studios and gyms have grown significantly over the past 4 years or so. Yoga studios led the trend, but now you can find Barre, Boxing, Spinning, Rowing, and many other unique trends,” said Burhans. “There is a lot of evidence supporting the idea that boutique gyms or niche studios are not going anywhere. The key is that they are flexible and adaptable. More and more, people want choice. They want options.”
Just Move Fitness and More has plans to stay successful. The Kalamazoo area community is too special of a place to let down! Neither Burhans nor Christy are Kalamazoo natives. Both moved here because of their husbands’ jobs. They both, however chose the Portage area purposely to start their business because it didn’t have as many unique options for fitness; it was also where they lived and their children went to school. Oh, and it was a way to give back to the community where they live!
What keeps Just Move Fitness and More unique? They definitely strive to listen to their clients’ needs and make it a priority to build community partnerships. Christy said, “Our success comes from our passion and dedication to our clients. One of our clients says it is like going to ‘Cheers’ (without the alcohol) because everyone knows your name and they ask how you are if they haven’t seen you!”
The business has continued to grow as they’ve diversified through expanding personal training to include small group training programs and on-site corporate classes, and partnering with other organizations who need space to offer quality programs without the overhead of their own space. They have also built partnerships with community organizations like Portage Public Schools, and Portage District Library, along with Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation and Kalamazoo Public Library to offer fitness for the whole family beyond their studio walls.
Part of their continual personal and business commitment to the community, the studio hosts charity events for the American Cancer Society, Peace House, Prevention Works, Inc., and the American Heart Association. And for the past four years they have helped raise awareness and money for Housing Resources Inc.’s Walk to End Homelessness by coordinating a flash mob!
Just Move Fitness and More offers so much, from flash mobs to social events to philanthropy, there truly is something for everyone. Christy went on to add these words about their goals for their clients, “We want movement to be fun so you want to do it. We want movement to be effective so you see results. We want to give you efficient workouts so you fit it in. And we want your movement to connect you with others. Everyone can exercise. You don’t need to be an extreme athlete, a particular body type, under a certain age, or even injury-free. We will help you get the most out of how you can move today so you can move stronger, longer and better for a long time.”
Now that’s commitment!