Why did you want to start your own business?
I think I wanted to start a business before I knew I wanted to start a business. I went to the University of Pittsburgh and got a business degree thinking I wanted to work for a business. Then I got a master’s degree in exercise physiology thinking I wanted to do research. All along, I taught Pilates for fun! Life brought me home to Harrisburg to be with my then-sick mother, and family has kept me in the Burg. My husband and I bought a home in Walden, and I think I knew then that I would open a Pilates studio in our mixed-use neighborhood, even though I did have what I called a real job. Back in 2008, Pilates was the new kid in the Harrisburg fitness community. I wanted to bring the Pilates that I know and love to this community.
What makes your business unique?
Absolute Pilates has four locations in the Harrisburg area. We bring high-quality instruction to the area. All of our instructors are comprehensively trained, meaning they have done more than 500 hours of training. Most have gone on to get specialty training in areas that interest them, like pre- and postnatal, MS and neurological conditions, traumatic brain injures, back pain, dance fitness and breast cancer. We believe we can help people fall in love with Pilates no matter their current health situation or wellness goals. We help clients look their best on a wedding day or help you move, even though you think you can’t.
What’s the most fun or gratifying part of what you do?
For me as the studio owner, this is a two-part answer. I have been able to help clients feel better, move better and be healthy. I love working with people who think they cannot. I have clients that, due to chronic disease or injury, have not moved in up to 10 years. We get them on the Pilates machines, and it is a game changer. They can build strength and stamina. Currently, the inspiration around the studio is a woman with MS who came in and was headed for a wheelchair. We have been working together to rebuild strength in her legs, and she is strong enough to drive to her own sessions now.
Also, I have been able to give so many people careers. We host an annual teacher training in the studio. This has provided careers to military wives, recent college grads that have no idea what they want to do with their degree, recently divorced moms who need to get back to work, and retirees looking for a fun second career. Seeing the clients and the teachers light up and move in my spaces is the most gratifying part of my day.