Moving to another studio location wasn’t something Nicole Ferguson and Kelli Harrington were planning when they began 2017. They were doing well with Red Yoga, had built a fantastic community, and were enjoying their second year of business.
Then the unexpected happened. They wanted to renew their lease at their Stadium Blvd location, but were told that wasn’t an option. Suddenly, they were faced with a deadline.
"We had a certain amount of time to sign a new lease because we wanted to lose as little class time as possible," said Nicole. "It was definitely a stressful time, but we tried to make the best of it."
Yoga is as much a spiritual practice as it is physical, so Kelli and Nicole wanted to show that they could handle adversity the way they advised others: embrace change as something positive.
"It was important to us to show our community that good things could come out of this move," said Kelli. "Yes, we will be downtown and, therefore, lose our private parking. But we wanted to show that there were great things about changing studio locations."
A bigger space
Any regular attendee of Red Yoga knows that the studio can get a bit cramped. Despite the small room, classes have had 60 or more students, wall-to-wall. That means an inch or less between yoga mats and very careful movement to avoid kicking other students.
"It can definitely get tight," said Nicole. "It’s one thing we are so excited about for the new space - the ability to spread out. We won’t have to worry about too many people coming to our classes because we will have plenty of room."
In addition to regular classes, the new space will allow Red Yoga to host larger workshops without having to rent out another studio like they have in the past for visitors like Cameron and Melayne Shayne.
"I'm really excited about the kind of people we can host in our own building," said Kelli, "and we will be able to host them in Downtown Ann Arbor, which carries amazing energy."
Another benefit will be functioning heat. For the past two years, Red Yoga has been known for classes performed in 100-degree heat, which helps to burn calories.
"We haven’t had working heat at the old studio for the past few months, which has been tough for us," said Nicole. "We’re looking forward to getting the new building set up so we can get back to the kind of classes we like to teach."
Yes, there will be plenty of positives that come along with the move, but Kelli and Nicole know it will take some adjusting as well. Many clients have attended Red Yoga because the location was convenient for them and because it was away from the busy University of Michigan campus.
"It will definitely be a change our clients will have to adjust to, but we’re hoping most will at least give it a try," said Nicole. "To help with that adjustment, we are offering free yoga for the first month to give our students a chance to get used to the new location."
"We're actually really excited to go downtown and we think our students will love it, too," said Kelli. "We are listening to what they want and will offer classes at times that work for them. Early morning classes are something that has been asked for a lot, which will help with the people who want to avoid the busiest times of the day downtown."
The new studio is located at 421 E. Liberty St. in downtown Ann Arbor, close to Michigan campus. That doesn’t mean, however, that the focus of Red Yoga will change.
"We are still a studio for professionals," said Kelli. "I know we will be around college students, but we will still be focused on non-students as our primary clients. We are thinking about different classes we can offer at times in the day that will benefit our existing clients and are looking forward to plenty of feedback."
Give your feedback
What classes would you like to see offered at Red’s new studio? Provide your input below to help Kelli and Nicole round out their schedule for the new year!