Starting a new fitness business a week before the start of the biggest pandemic in a century probably isn’t good timing, especially when both partners have other jobs and a family of five kids.
However, Chad and Pam Shipley, owners of Balance Cycle & Wellness Studio in Archbold, have made it work and then some.
The husband and wife owners of the spinning center that is located on South Defiance Street in the back portion of Temple Fitness (former location of Wyse Office Supplies and Bookstore) spoke to Rotarians recently.
Pam, a sales rep for a home health agency and former Archbold Rotarian, explained how they started the studio in a 320 square foot room with 10 bikes one week before COVID hit.
All of their classes that first week were filled and things looked promising until Ohio and much of the country shut down the next week for nearly three months.
All of their revenue stopped, but the bills kept coming and since they weren’t an established business they didn’t qualify for any of the small business pandemic assistance programs. They re-opened June 15, and, to their surprise, their customers came back.
To keep the equipment and facility sanitized, they spend 30 minutes after every 30 minute session to thoroughly clean the equipment and studio. Since re-opening, they have had no cases of the coronavirus among any of their customers.
By November, they realized that they had out-grown their initial location and were able to move to their current facility, which is nearly double in size, and add bikes.
In less than a year, they have grown to 325 members with 27 to 30 classes a week led by certified instructors. Pam projects that they will have 1,240 customers participate in classes in March — about 75 percent of their maximum capacity.
Chad, who is also a barber, said they offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes for nearly all age ranges. From May to November, Chad races mountain bikes, but there aren’t any races the rest of the year. That is what prompted the Shipleys to open their business last year — so Chad could stay in shape and train during the off-season.
He explained that spinning, as the exercise is called, is a high intensity work-out that provides an excellent way of burning calories. The 30-minute classes cost $7; however, they offer packages at a reduced rate. To schedule a class or learn more, go to the Balance Cycle & Wellness Facebook page.