Number of kids and ages: Teenage girls ages 19 and 16
Pets: 2 poodle mix rescues, ages 2 and 6
And you are a business owner in Rye? Yes.
What is the name of your business? Pilates Studio of Rye. We opened June 2009 and are proud to be in our 11th year of business.
Before starting this business, what was your career? I grew up in the catering business and spent many of my adult years in the hotel business, most notably as the VIP Manager at The Plaza Hotel for 8+ years. Following my time at The Plaza, using that immeasurable experience, I started my own private NYC VIP concierge business, Premier Concierge Service. I continued with PCS for nearly 20 years and in the last few years, pretty much focused solely on the Pilates studio.
Why did you start your business? At the time, I was already considering a change from the concierge business. A great opportunity came our way to consider opening a Pilates studio with someone I knew for a long time who had many years of experience as a Pilates instructor. My husband and I thought it might be a good idea and went for it and partnered to open Pilates Studio of Rye. Shortly thereafter, the partnership had a much needed change so that my husband and I became sole owners, now owning and managing the studio for the last 10 years.
What do you love most about what you do now? I love that I am able to incorporate my hospitality experience and client services talent to take the best care of our Pilates clients and instructors. I love that I am able to continue to work from or close to home and always be available for our girls and dogs. I also love that I have the greatest partner in my husband who stops at nothing to support all I do to keep our studio a success, while working 60-70 hours a week as a pharmacist in one of his best friend's family owned store.
What did you have to do to start this enterprise? We had to find a good space to work within our budget and need to get the most Pilates reformers and equipment in a space in Rye City. One of my best girlfriends, and the best realtor ever, Sandy Chittenden found our space and we never looked back. My husband and I were the sole investors and that worked in our favor in the long run.
What was the biggest challenge you faced? Before March 2020, the biggest challenge we faced was and continues to be the threat and true to life storms often devastating Milton Point. We opened the studio with floor to floor beautiful Pergo wood and in the first few years, the tidal water poured in and ruined them all, one storm at a time. We converted all the floors to stone tile and had a complete gut renovation, down to the studs, after 3 feet of water poured in during Super Storm Sandy. Now of course, the biggest challenge is the nearly 6 month shut down to the Covid-19 pandemic.
How did you overcome the awful storm damage?
We lift all the equipment in preparation for every storm event. We have become quite the weather experts, watching for the combination of a full moon, high wind, high tide, rain and NE winds....and then we lift! We then return asap, sometimes 5am, to bring everything down to be ready for the next class.
With regards to the forced shut down, we managed to cover the must pay bills (electric, phone, insurance, etc.) with our Zoom and al fresco classes. The great thing is that we will continue with those classes along with our reformer classes. The latter is limited due to the mandated occupancy limit, so it is so helpful to offer our clients many options. Our landlord has supported our challenge and we are paying the rent as we go. WE WILL GET THERE!!!!!!!!!!!! At this point, I think we can overcome any challenge!
What is the thing that has surprised you most about this venture? Sometimes, my husband and I look at each other and say "can you believe we own a Pilates Studio", and survived the storms and now a pandemic forced shut down? We are so proud and excited that we reopened September 8, nearly 6 months after we were forced to close.
What is your best tip for fellow entrepreneurs? My tip is for business owners to always take care of their clients and staff just as they would want to be taken care of. My hotel training always had me answering phones on the 3rd ring! There was no other way at the time except for answering machines and voicemail....yes I'm that old! I have taken that service mantra with me. Of course, we're not answering calls on the 3rd ring these days so my tip is that clients' and staff's needs are met quickly and efficiently, and they are always served well.
I know you recently overcame Covid. Tell us about your experience. My husband and I both contracted Covid-19 many months ago, at the end of March. My diagnosis was not serious, I suffered from a low fever, annoying cough, fatigue and 100% loss of taste and smell. I chose to not get tested because tests were very difficult to obtain and I knew I had it because I almost rarely get sick and I had symptoms of the virus.
My husband did get tested because he is a pharmacist and needed to know and get back to work asap. After countless attempts to find out the results, he got the positive results 6 days later. Until then we stayed completely separate in our house and once he was confirmed positive, we moved in together in our bedroom which thankfully has a bathroom. We remained in our bedroom until he was completely clear of his fever and got the ok from our doctor. We managed to keep our girls safe by having them clear the way for me to go to the kitchen to prepare food or get anything we needed and run right back upstairs. We had things dropped off if needed. My husband was very very sick, with pneumonia in one lung and a cough and fever that wouldn't go away. Thankfully, he was not hospitalized. We decided it best to have my cardiologist take care of him, which was brilliant. Dr. Gandelmann made sure he had all the respiratory tests he needed before taking any medication. Going with the medical professionals was the way to go because we did not want to trust anything we were hearing from politicians. Finally, after 3 weeks, my husband was cleared to return to work. This is a guy who missed only 3 days in 27 years at the same job! At this time, we both suffer the minor lingering effect of loss of our sense of smell. My sense of smell is actually more at a loss than my husband! I barely can smell anything. All in all, we are so blessed that we are well and did not get our girls sick nor anyone else as we were locked away for 3 weeks! We had positive antibody test results and donated our plasma in May.
What have you learned in your journey?
We learned the importance of letting your most trusted medical professionals take care of you. Also to live as if we can get it again and to not let our guard down in so many ways.
Your website? www.pilatesofrye.com
Your Instagram? pilatesofrye