NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) ─ The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses statewide to get creative in order to survive, including Studio Barre in Newport.
October marks six years since the fitness center opened, according to owners Kelsey and Tanis Collard, and they tell 12 News that this year has extra special meaning for them.
Studio Barre was forced close down for three months because of the pandemic, and were concerned that the state’s reopening restrictions would force them to close for good.
“Unfortunately, we were told we could only have five people per class,” Kelsey said.
The mother-daughter duo said they worked with state health officials to figure out how to safely increase their class sizes. Kelsey said their class sizes now allow up to 15 people.
In addition to extra cleaning, the Collards added dividers, called “Barre Suites,” to keep clients separated.
The Collards said after hearing from their clients, they discovered people wanted more than just an online Barre class.
“[People want to] be together as a tribe, as a community, and have something to focus on personally other than COVID,” Tanis said.
Every October, clients and members of the community support the Collards through a cause close to their hearts.
“The founder of the franchise [Studio Barre] is a breast cancer survivor, and my mom’s sister, my aunt, passed away from inflammatory beast cancer nine years ago,” Kelsey said.
The Collards were concerned that the pandemic would impact their fundraising, but said their clients proved them wrong.
“They came out in droves and supported us,” Tanis said, adding that they raised $2,300 for the Keep a Breast Foundation. “It warms our hearts. We both get emotional about it because it’s a cause near and dear to our hearts.”
The Collards said the continued community support throughout a difficult year has made this anniversary even more special.
For potential clients who are interested in attending a class but are hesitant to do so in person, Studio Barre is offering online courses.