Celebrating its second anniversary in Charleston, Pure Barre is thriving

Despite “fitness trends” surveys saying barre was “out,” the furthest could be the case in Charleston where Pure Barre routinely fills classes at studios in Mount Pleasant and Charleston. Co-owner Jen Gustis Leitch reflected on the past two years. DQ

Q: Congratulations on celebrating your second anniversary this week. What have you done to celebrate and how can existing clients and potential clients help you celebrate?

 A: October is one of busiest times of year for us. We have several charity events we support and participate in, as well as support for our local business community, so October is a celebration in itself.

Throughout the month we will be posting “flash” promotions through our FB page and twitter. Promotions would include retail sales, class packages, and event postings.

 Q: For those who are unfamiliar with barre and specifically “Pure Barre,” as well as your locations, give them a nutshell explanation for background.

 APure Barre was founded by dancer, choreographer and fitness guru Carrie Rezabek Dorr. Carrie opened her first studio in the basement of an office building in Birmingham, MI in 2001. With no initial clients, staff, signage or even a bathroom, Carrie successfully grew Pure Barre into the dynamic company it is today.

 In July of 2009, Pure Barre became a franchise and has exploded in popularity, due to its extremely effective technique, friendly, high-energy atmosphere; and fun, motivating music. Pure Barre is more than just a workout; it’s a lifestyle.

At Pure Barre, women share a sense of community, in which they are inspired and empowered by each other’s fitness and lifestyle goals. In addition to classes, Pure Barre also offers DVDs, equipment and exercise apparel.

 Because Pure Barre is a national fitness lifestyle and Charleston is a world-class city with an incredible fitness “flair”, we knew that Charleston was the perfect place to open a studio, a perfect merge of both.

We have a deep love for this city and its culture as well as its fitness lifestyle, so we were thrilled to be able to bring it here. And Charleston embraced us immediately. We are thrilled that we have had such a successful two years.

Q: I was amazed how quickly you opened a second location after the first one opened in Mount Pleasant. Was that part of the plan or a reaction to the success of the first one?

 A:  Yes to both! We have always planned on having a Mt. Pleasant and a Charleston location, during the initial vetting of the areas, MTP happened to workout first. With that said, our overwhelming response to the MTP location quickly got us thinking about the 2nd location within a few months of the initial opening.

 Q: I follow Pure Barre on Facebook, even though I’m not a client, and I’m amazed at how quickly your classes fill up. Is that more of a function of class size or are y’all just pulling in the crowds?

 A:  Classes are limited to around 25 clients and class participation varies by month and time of day, but in general classes maintain a healthy average. When classes are pushing capacity, it’s important for clients to be aware of the demand so they can make room for others in the event they cannot make it to class. We also add in classes as needed so that we can accommodate all of our clients.

 Q: Now, I know we’ve joked on-and-off about getting me in a class and I’m by no-means a macho man, but tell me the truth, barre remains an activity that is primarily done by females, right? Be candid – what are you seeing on the ground level as far as women and men in barre in Charleston, specifically.

 A: The overwhelming majority of our clients are women. It’s fun to have the guys in class and watch them shake, perhaps not realizing how tough the workout can be.

There are great success stories with men and Pure Barre, but  the  technique for Charleston is dominated by women, as we target areas that women are concerned with – toning the back of arms, thinning thighs, tightening abdominals, and lifting the seat, as well are creating flexibility.

The great opportunity for Pure Barre clients is the technique is nationwide, so we do have male PB visitors from other states coming to workout with us. Here’s Mark from Seattle!

 Q: I’ve read a few “testimonials” about barre helping running and other athletic pursuits. Why should a runner, cyclist, triathlete, surfer or whoever try it out?

 A: Great questions, there are some incredible success stories for the cross trainer and pure barre. People’s stories are what inspire the pure barre lifestyle. Rather than iterate on the technique, here are some great testimonials for the cross trainer (click on the cross train tab): http://purebarre.com/story/your-stories/

 Q: Anything on the horizon in the year ahead for Pure Barre in Charleston?

 A: We have some great charity events coming up with Be Bright Pink and The Red Party. Something we have not made public, until now, is we as owners (Jen and Jenn Vannata) have the title of Master Teacher Trainers for Pure Barre.

We are two of four MTTs for the Southeast training facility. We are responsible for training future teachers nationally in the PB technique and providing owners feedback on teachers with the goal of constant improvement. 

We love what we do, so having the role of MTT is important to us and we are honored to hold the title. In addition, one of our Charleston teachers is a Teacher Trainer as well. Our downtown location has also hosted nationally training events, which we plan to continue. It’s great to have teachers from all over the country visit out great city.


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